In this article, I explored contemporary realities that pertain to assessing programs, and quality in early
childhood education. Parents have ongoing demands for early childhood programs for their children, and
they are the decision-makers in selecting programs, so their perceptions of program quality are critical to
service providers. The purpose of this study is to listen to the voices of parents as they discussed “how
they view a good early childhood program.” I conducted interviews with 30 parents who had children
aged 3-5 for initial interviews and 10 parents for in-depth interviews in central Illinois in the U.S.
Parents had mixed opinions about the process factors and the structural factors of quality. Discussions of
quality should focus not only on children’s outcomes but also on what parents really want in a program.
This article suggests that a system to accommodate the participants’ different practices and underlying
philosophies and contexts is needed in order to represent the multiple perspectives on program quality.