Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.
For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide
range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.
Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.
Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.
Host:What else can parents look for when choosing a preschool?
Rene Hackney: Whether they go to NAEYC or not, one of the first things I tend to look for at a preschool is happy, busy children. If you go to an open house day, if you go on a visit to a school, you should see children engaged in active and happy to be at preschool. Every once in a while, you will walk through even a really good preschool and there will be a child just sobbing on the floor. That happens everywhere and I wouldn t let one thing like -- one interaction like that, really cloud your judgment, but the idea is get an overall sense of the preschool.
Other things that you can be looking for are how clean the preschool looks, how brightly lit the preschool, how welcoming the classrooms are. You can also look at their use of outdoor space. There are some preschools that have no preschools that have no outdoor space at all and others that have seven acres of wooded playgrounds where the children are using the outside as a classroom, an extended classroom.
So, it s that something important, that is also another thing to consider. When you are looking for preschools you might also consider the religious aspect. There are many preschools that are housed in churches that are not religious or housed in churches that are a religious affiliation, so if that s important it is something to look at. You might also consider the type of program that it is. There are Montessori preschools, Reggio Emilia preschools, High/Scope preschools. So, if those different categories seem to be important, you might look for them.