How to Make a Simple Portfolio for Preschoolers

by Rosenya Faith

While some preschools accept children on a first-come, first-served basis, others require a few extra steps to make sure their preschool program meets the needs and abilities of its entire student body. If you're applying to one of those posh preschools, you may need to present some of your youngster's work from home to help the school figure out if the match is a good one. While the task may seem daunting, remember that you and your child have been preparing for this. All you have to do now is show off some of your child's best work, and to do that, you will want to make a simple, but meaningful preschool portfolio.

Rummage through your child's artwork collection and other home activities — amazing how that pile has grown!

Choose a few different pieces from each area of learning to highlight your youngster's academic and artistic abilities. While you may be tempted to pick a few that you helped out with, pick the pieces that best demonstrate his abilities and academic level.

Choose artwork samples and work that demonstrates your child's abilities in sorting, patterning, counting and other math-related talents. Pick out a printing sample and a sample of sequencing as well. Finally, add a few pieces of work that demonstrate his early learning in science.

Use a three-hole punch on each piece of work and insert all of the pieces together into a folder or binder. Try to avoid work that needs to be folded into funny shapes to fit in the folder. Remember, if you try to cram too much in there, you'll end up looking like the queen of clutter rather than a neat, organized mom of a future preschooler.

Label the front of the folder with your child's name and any pertinent information — date, preschool name, application number.

Items you will need

  • Child's work
  • Folder, binder or duotang


  • Many preschools have eliminated child portfolios in the application process. Check with each individual school prior to submitting a portfolio. Those that do currently accept portfolios may have different inclusion requirements. Check with the school before assembling your child's portfolio — preschool applications can be stressful enough; you don't need the added stress of having to remake the portfolio.


  • Windows on Learning: Documenting Young Children's Work, 2nd ed.; Judy Harris Helm et al.
  • Assessment in Early Childhood Education, 5th ed.; Sue C. Wortham

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images