Girl and boy at preschool


About Preschool

Children who go to preschool are more likely to do better in school. Look for a preschool program that will help your child develop the skills she will need in school and life.
Preschool should not look or feel like school. There should be organized activities, but there should also be plenty of free time for your child to explore and learn on her own.

Where to Find Help

CalWorks Child Care
Help paying for child care or preschool.

Head Start/Early Head Start online locator
Search tool for Head Start centers nationwide.

National Association for the Education of Young Children
Information on quality child care, help finding child care.

More Resources

Things You Can Do

Find Out How Your Child Is Doing

  • Ask your child and her teacher about each day.

  • Plan to meet with the teacher every few months. Ask how your child gets along with others and follows rules. Ask about the new things she is learning.

  • Drop in from time to time to make sure all is well.

Keep Your Child Home If She Is Sick

  • If you get paid sick leave at your job, you should be able to use it to care for your child or take her to the doctor.

  • Make sure the preschool has phone numbers where they can reach you if your child gets sick.

  • The book What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick has information on common child health problems. It is in the Kit for New Parents from First 5 California.

Your Child’s Safety

If your child says she is being treated badly or ignored at child care, take it seriously. Do not ignore it if she comes home hungry or dirty, or has unexplained bruises. Call the Child Protective Services number for your county, or call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline.


Checklist for Toddler Child Care

Things to look for when you're choosing a preschool.

Skills That Will Help in School

Preschool lets your child practice skills she will need in school. She learns to take part in group activities and to take turns. Your child will also play number games and practice using crayons, pencils, and other art supplies.

Go to School Together

Some schools help families learn together. There may be classes you can take with your child, or separate adult classes. You can improve your reading, learn to use a computer, learn English, or gain other skills. Ask your school district about family learning programs and adult school.

Paying for Preschool

Many public school districts and some towns offer preschool. This can be less expensive than private preschool. You may be able to get financial assistance from the state, or you may qualify for Head Start.


Some schools have family learning programs, so you can learn along with your child.