Wondering which preschool to admit your child in? Here are some questions you must ask the school before you help your child take his first step into the world of learning.
By Dimple Tehlan
Preschool is the first step toward formal schooling for your child and sets the stage for lifelong learning. It aids the mental, emotional and social development of the child. As a parent, you might have several questions regarding the selection of the right preschool for the holistic development of your child. Before making your choice, however, you must make a list of preschools available in your neighbourhood. It is better to prepare a year before enrolment begins at schools. Also, keep a note of the important dates for submission of applications, the admission procedure and all other formalities required at the time of admission.
1. What is the educational philosophy of the preschool?
You should be aware of the educational philosophy of the institution before enrolling your child and should ensure that it is in agreement with the parenting style you follow.
2. What is the structure of the programme and the curriculum?
A good curriculum entails a wide variety of activities for the all-round development of the learner. The activities should be age-appropriate and take into consideration the maturity and the cognition of the child. Enquire what language of instruction the school follows, if the programme is child-centred, and if the school encourages learning through creative methods or follows more traditional methods.
3. What are the educational qualifications and experience of the faculty?
A lot of what your child experiences at the preschool is facilitated by the teacher. So, it is important that the faculty at the preschool is properly trained and qualified to provide appropriate learning experiences to the child. Also, parents should enquire if the staff and the support team available at the preschool are trained and certified in first aid and CPR to ensure the safety of your child.
4. What is the teacher-to-student ratio followed by the school?
Preschool is a child’s first step into the world outside home. So, it is essential that your child feels safe, loved and nurtured there. Preschool is also a place which lays the foundation for learning for your child. As a parent, you need to ensure that the school has the ideal teacher-to-child ratio to achieve all that. The education division of the National Commission For Protection Of Child Rights mandates that for every 20 children there is one teacher and one caregiver.
5. What is the role of parents in the learning process employed by the school?
Preschool is a place where parents and teachers join hands to make the entire process of learning and exploration meaningful for the child. To enable the process, you need to enquire about your role and involvement in the activities of your child and establish a proper channel of communication with his teachers. This will help in the wholesome development of your child. You should also share important information about him regarding his daily routine, medical conditions (if any), likes and dislikes. Be open to communicating with the teacher regarding your child’s progress in school on a regular basis.
6. Does the preschool provide refreshments or have a healthy snacks policy?
Every child needs healthy and nutritious food to help in her growth and development. Many schools either provide snacks or have policies about what a child can bring from home in her tiffin box. Enquire about the policies, to know if you are on board with the school’s philosophies.
7. Is nap time included in the school schedule?
Some preschools have longer hours and include nap time in their schedules. A nap is necessary for children to feel rejuvenated. You must enquire if naptime is included in the schedule and if proper sleeping mats, pillows and sheets are provided by the school.
8. What is the scope of physical activities for children?
Young children are bundles of energy. This energy needs to be invested in a proper way through fun activities. Ask the school how they plan to engage your child physically, on a daily basis. Also, enquire about the kind of activities he will be doing.
9. Is the school willing to share references?
To get an insight about the preschool’s environment, you should ask the school for references. Talk to other parents, teachers and stakeholders about the various facilities, safety features and teaching standards employed by the school. This will give you an idea about how the school works and if the environment is suitable for your child.
1. Is the preschool easily accessible from your home or your workplace?
2. What are the school hours and does it have classes in the morning or afternoon or both?
3. How safe are the pick-up and drop-off procedures for children?
4. What is the fee structure and what are the various payment options available?
5. Does your child have to be potty-trained before joining school or is the staff willing to assist in the process?
A good preschool experience lays the foundation for future success in education and parents should ensure that the preschool meets their expectations.
Dimpey Tehlan, part of Safecity’s #WritersMovement, is a B.El.Ed student at Miranda House.
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