Quality Preschool Criteria

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Quality preschool and child care programs address all areas of a child's development, including his or her social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. To be a part of UP4WS, a preschool, childcare or infant and toddler care center must be working toward meeting or exceeding the following quality guidelines:


All facilities will provide attractive, spacious outdoor areas for safe, vigorous activities; a supply of appropriate materials and toys on site; areas for quiet play or activities; and passing scores in each of the following Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS) Family Childcare (FCCERS) or Infant Toddler (ITERS) categories:

  • Space and Furnishings
  • Interactions
  • Personal Care Routines
  • Program Structure
  • Language-Reasoning
  • Parents and Staff
  • Activities

Curriculum/Content Standards

California's Pre-kindergarten or Infant Toddler Learning Development Guidelines will be followed, with daily opportunities for early literacy, the arts, science, math, health/nutrition, social skills/relationship building, physical and group activities.

Education and Training

Master Teachers or Program Directors will possess or be in the process of obtaining bachelor's degrees in Early Childhood Education (ECE)/Child Development. Assistant Teachers will possess associate's degrees with 24 core ECE units. Any teaching staff not meeting the above requirements must follow a written plan to satisfy them by 2015. Additionally all teachers will pursue ongoing Staff Development, and be assessed by qualified evaluators in the areas of:

  • Social and Emotional Support
  • Classroom Organization
  • Instructional Support

Adult-to-Child Ratios and Group Size

Preschools will offer a balance of individual-, small- and large-group activities as well as spontaneous play and teacher-guided activities. Staff-to-child ratios at center-based preschools will not exceed 3:24 or 2:20. Family childcare and small program providers will follow all licensing guidelines and provide a staff to child ratio of no less than 1:3 for infants and 1:4 for toddlers.

Cultural Sensitivity

Acknowledgement and respect for all children and families will include validation for their individual, personal, cultural and linguistic identities.

Family Partnerships

Providers will invite and support parental involvement and participation, including a formal mechanism for written feedback and twice-yearly conferences with parents.

Developmental Screenings

Developmental screenings using the Ages and Stages or PEDS Questionnaire will ensure special needs children are identified and referred appropriately.


Preschools will assess individual student progress as well as program/curriculum effectiveness using the Desired Results Developmental Profile.