Preschool programs are usually for children between the ages of three to five years old. They are often part-day and generally operate during the school year.

Many states are now offering free or low-cost pre-kindergarten programs for families that qualify.

Many types of organizations offer preschool programs, including schools, churches, non-profit organizations and child care centers. These programs may or may not have to be regulated depending on the laws within the state where you live. Your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency can help you determine if your program is required to be regulated and, if so, what regulations must be met. You can find your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency by entering your zip code and clicking on the search button on the right-hand side of this page.

Tips for Choosing This Type of Care:

  • Ask the program about the number of adults and children present (staff to child ratios).
  • Make sure that each staff person has received training on key health and safety standards including first aid, CPR, medication administration, child abuse detection and prevention, and developmentally appropriate activities.
  • Confirm that every adult working or volunteering in the program has had a comprehensive criminal history check.
  • Find out if your child’s teacher has an early childhood credential or degree and how long he or she has been working in the early childhood field.
  • Ask your child’s teacher what curriculum is being used. Ask him or her to explain the types of daily activities that are planned and how those activities support your child’s learning. Ask if the curriculum being used supports your state’s guidelines for early learning. Learn more about your state’s early learning guidelines.
  • Make sure that the provider’s policies and philosophy on discipline, supervision, nutrition, child development and learning align with what you want for your child.

Why Families May Choose This Type of Care:

Families who select a preschool program usually don’t need a full day, full year setting but are looking for a program that focuses on kindergarten readiness.