How to Choose a Preschool

I would like to create an objective way to measure whether preschool has enough “adult involvement” to adequately manage the endless amounts of time and energy that go into handling the administrative affairs so that teachers can be engaged with intense “adult interaction” with each preschooler.

Define: “adult involvement” INHIBITORS can limit a high level of interaction between teacher and student

1. Meeting children’s physical needs (food prep and serving, toileting, hand washing, coat zipping)?

2. Keeping materials organized

3. Monitoring the children’s play

4. Preparing props and materials for programs

5. Preparing teaching materials

You might be surprised at how much of a teacher’s day is taken up by the details of the “adult involvement” INHIBITORS listed above. Familiarize yourself by asking the preschool director some questions and follow up with the same questions with the teachers… the answers should match!

Levels of Adult Involvement:

  1. IGNORE:
  2. The teacher is completing paperwork, talking to another adult, or is physically out of the room for a brief time. The child has no immediate connection with the teacher.
  4. The teacher is observing the children’s play or is scanning the classroom to observe the children work, line up, or make a transition. She may be watching the child interact with a child or another adult.
  6. The teacher is involved in caring for a child’s needs such as zipping a coat or opening a container, but she doesn’t talk with the child (maybe she is looking at what other children are doing or giving the group directions). It may also include the teacher who reads a book to a child or group without stopping or asking and answering any questions.
  8. The teacher verbally responds to the child with short sentences (“Good job,” “That’s right!”) or touches the child for discipline (moving one child away from another).
  10. The teacher uses physical contact that is not connected to meeting a direct need (tying shoes). The teacher provides verbal interactions like “You’re doing a good job listening!” or nonverbally with a smile, high five, or thumbs-up. There is recognition of the child, but there is only a limited or brief connection between the teacher and the child.
  11. ENGAGED:
  12. The teacher maintains close proximity to the child and the child’s activity; she may sit with the child when he or she is playing, answer complex questions, or provide suggestions for elaborating play. The teacher is available to the child, and the child knows that he or she can ask the teacher a question or invite the teacher into the activity.
  13. INTENSE:
  14. The caregiver hugs or holds the child, allows the child to sit by her while reading, plays interactively with the child, and engages in back-and-forth conversation of personal interests to the child. This can also be done with groups of children in which individual children are recognized; most of the children are able to contribute, with the teacher elaborating on their ideas.

More adult involvement with children lead to greater child outcomes, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Engaged and intense interactions are created when we take the time to show the children a new game, even participate with them. Or perhaps there is a student who needs help in throwing a ball correctly or learning how to pedal the small bike. Free-play time can be another prime opportunity to focus intensely on individual children or small groups of children.

At West Valley Christian Preschool we have purposely employed a director and assistant director to allow our faculty to focus on interacting with the children. Our administrative staff spend countless hours being sure tissues are supplied, snacks are prepared, bathrooms are cleaned, and playground equipment is available. Keeping materials organized is an on going challenge but when the director has supplied cubbies and spaces to keep our toys and books, teachers are available to devote quality time for engaged and intense interactions.

WVC Preschool has the best stage performances that I have ever seen!! Complete with stage props, costumes, music, lights and sound board. We can always count on the preschool students, preschool staff, and Miss Judy to create a special program that will frame the best memories for you and your child.

Today, with over 20 years in education, I have new appreciation of the importance of the role of the preschool administration. With confidence I can say, I would enroll my children in WVC Preschool because they are committed to using all of their resources to provide an excellent environment to foster a love for learning and a Christian education. I highly recommend that you choose a preschool for your child that has a strong administrative support system that allows teachers to interact with your child with engaged and intense activities.


Mr. Swales

Administrator, West Valley Christian School

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West Valley Christian School

22450 Sherman Way, West Hills, CA 91307

Main Office (TK-8th Grade) - (818) 884-4710

Preschool Office - (818) 884-9807

After School Daycare - (818) 321-8416