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Early Childhood Education

Preschool Guidance & Materials

Guidelines for Preschool Facilities (taken from N.J.A.C. 6A:26 & N.J.A.C. 5:23)
New Jersey Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Education
In-District and Provider Facilities
Design and Construction of school facilities housing preschool students

  1. Both the indoor and outdoor preschool space shall be safe, clean, attractive and spacious so that children are not crowded, (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-6.4).
  2. 950 net square feet of classroom space shall be provided for each former Abbott classroom (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-3.11 (b) & 6A:26-6.4 (h)) as follows:
    • 750 square feet total (50 square feet per child) of usable space shall be provided that is free and open and excludes storage and major pieces of equipment and built in furnishings (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-6.4). "Useable" space includes materials and pieces of equipment that are easily movable.
    • 150 square feet of storage for equipments and furnishings that are either built in or not easily moveable.
    • 50 square feet of an attached toilet room that is accessible to students with physical disabilities (N.J.A.C. 5:23-7) built to meet the needs of young children, identified for their exclusive use and barrier free in design as per N.J.A.C. 5:23-7.
  3. Preschool classrooms shall be no higher than the second floor of a school facility (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-6.4 (h)(2)) and shall not be located in the basement.
  4. Pickup and drop-off area's should be safely situated, clearly marked and sufficiently large to provide safe entrances and exits for children and adults (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-6.3, (c)(1-2).
  5. A communication system should be installed in each classroom to allow for emergency calls.

Outdoor Requirements

  • Preschool children must have direct access to a developmentally appropriate playground.
  • Equipment should be developmentally appropriate and in accordance with playground safety rules in compliance with the playground safety sub code of the NJUCC as specified in N.J.A.C. 5:23-11.
  • There shall be 100 square feet per child of outdoor play space for each child using that space at one time (N.J.A.C. 6A:26-6.4d).
  • Surface areas should include soil, sand, grass, hills, and a large flat surface for wheeled toys.
  • Outdoor areas should also have some protection from the elements.

Existing Construction

For Community Providers, the requirements shall supplement but not supplant the Manual of Requirements mandated by the Office of Licensing in the Department of Children and Families for community provider licensure. Some of the above requirements exceed those of the Manual of Requirements in which case the requirements of the above section shall apply.

The district board of education shall ensure that all existing contracted private provider and local Head Start agency preschool programs have met these requirements:

  • All existing contracted provider space that did not meet the 950 square feet per classroom was grandfathered in with at least 525 square feet per classroom (35 square feet per child).
  • 50 square feet of an attached toilet room – waivers considered for at least 1 toilet facility and sink on each floor level used by children.

Any changes to the physical space or location of contracted private providers or local Head Start preschool classrooms require approval for the school district and shall meet the space requirements established above.