Your child is ready to begin their academic journey outside the home. That means finding the right preschool. It can be a scary experience for both parent and child, but it doesn’t have to be. How do you know which one is best for your child? Here are three tips on what to look for in a preschool.
Identify Your Needs And Wants
Preschool, nursery school, and kindergarten are pre-primary programs that provide educational experiences. The percentage of 3- to 5-year-olds has increased in these programs from 59% to 65% from 1990 to 2013. When choosing a preschool, it’s important to start looking at least a year before enrolling if you want to pick from the best academic preschool programs.
The first step in how to pick a preschool is to figure out what you would mostly need and want from the school. Do you want to find a preschool that’s close to your home or work? Do you need extended hours? Does your child have special needs that require extra attention? Identifying your top priorities should not be overlooked.
Learn The Lingo
There are many choices of educational philosophies when it comes to choosing a preschool. Learning the lingo on what the most popular philosophies are can be incredibly helpful in finding the right preschool. For example, the Montessori method teaches children to learn at their own unique pace and not compete or be compared to other students. The Waldorf method focuses on imaginative learning through analytical thought, the senses, and participation. The Reggio Emilia Approach provides students with problem-solving opportunities through exploration and creative thinking. The High/Scope Approach puts children in charge of their education. Children make a plan each day on what they want to do. And then there are schools that combine different methods and implement their own unique approach, reaching all different learning styles, as no one method reaches all children. Consider which approach may be best suited for your child when selecting a preschool.
Make A Visit
To help you narrow down your choices of preschools, it’s helpful to schedule a visit with the schools that interest you most. Pay attention to how welcomed you feel while visiting and how interested your child is with what the school has to offer. How clean is the school? Do the other children seem genuinely happy? How do the children and teachers interact with each other?
Prepare a list of questions beforehand that you can ask during your visit. How does the school handle discipline? What are the safety measures in place for pick up and drop off? What are the procedures and options for payment?
Finding the right preschool for your child doesn’t have to be difficult. With careful planning and due diligence, your child can enroll in a preschool where they will be fully equipped to learn and thrive. Follow your instincts and trust your gut — good luck!