As your little one begins to grow, they may show a desire to do more, learn more, and play more with others. This is a great opportunity to consider enrolling them in preschool where they will have the chance to interact with others.
While choosing an environment that’s right for your family can be overwhelming, there are a few core factors to focus on that will help point you in the right direction. Here are 7 things to consider as you select your child’s future preschool.
The location of the preschool should be convenient for you and your nuclear family. Choosing a school that’s in close proximity to your home, workplace or close to a relative takes the stress out of pick-ups and drop-offs, it also allows easy access in case you ever need to get to the school quickly in an unexpected situation.
Be sure to consider how this new expense will fit into your household budget. Preschools typically charge a one-time annual enrollment fee to cover materials and insurance. After that, you will likely have to pay on a monthly basis. Be sure to talk to the school to ask if there are any additional fees or costs to consider: will you need to pay for uniforms; how many monthly payments are there per school year; when is each payment is due; are there cancellation fees if the school doesn’t workout for you and your family?
3. Length of School Day
Many schools provide half-day and full-day options. Each family has a unique set of needs. Consider which situation is best for your child, and for you, based on your work schedule or other commitments.
4. Facilities & Classroom Environment
School facilities should be structurally sounds and well maintained. Classrooms should be organized in a manner that is suitable for young children. Child-sized furniture and bathrooms will allow for children to independently move around the space. There should be ample free space for students to move and play. The amount of students permitted in the space, and the teacher-student ratio are important things to consider.
Also think about factors outside the classroom. Does the school have a yard? Is it in a stand-alone center or within a business plaza? What is the drop-off and pick-up process like? Some preschools also have cameras which parents can access to see what is occurring throughout the day.If this is something you’re interested in, ask the school if they offer this service or plan to offer in the future.
5. Curriculum and Playtime
Preschools adopt curriculums based on different philosophies like Waldorf, Montessori and Reggio Emilia. Doing your research ahead of time to determine which curriculum will be the best fit for your child, will help narrow your school choices.
Many schools also offer teaching in various languages. Classes may be given in your home language or a second language. Multi-lingual classroom environments can have many benefits, but sometimes may cause delays. Talk to each school about their language options to decide what is best for your child.
Free playtime is important in a preschoolers daily life. It allows them to apply things learned, solve problems, be creative, among many other benefits. Playtime should be a part of the daily schedule.
6. Director and Teachers
The director of the school will not necessarily be a daily part of your child’s day, but plays an integral part of the daily functioning of the preschool. They are responsible for the quality of instruction, the security of the students among other responsibilities. The director should be available and approachable to answer questions and concerns when they arise.
The teachers will be responsible for the well being of your child during their time at the preschool. They should be warm and friendly, show they truly like their job and should be flexible with the learning styles of their students. Teachers should constantly communicate progress to parents, and be available to answer concerns during scheduled meetings.
7. Separation Guidelines
Preschool tends to be the first time little ones are away from their parents or family members and it can be a difficult transition for some children. Preschools may allow for a family member to stay in the classroom to help make the transition smooth and make the child feel at ease with the change. Other preschools prefer parents to say goodbye, and have the child adapt to the classroom with the aid of the teaching staff. All children are different and will adapt to changes differently. Make sure that you are comfortable with the method implored by the preschool.
We hope these tips help you in making the best decision for your child and family.