As your child takes baby steps into the world of education, you want to make sure that you select the right preschool that will build his curiosity towards learning as well as bring out his hidden talents. But there are many factors that go into deciding which preschool meets all your and your child's needs.
Here's a list that you must consider before making your choice.
- Curriculum: Preschools usually adopt one of these educational methods – Playway, Montessori, activity-based learning, and Waldorf. Do your research and see what curriculum best fits your beliefs. Talk to teachers to understand their approach.
- Fitting your needs: What are your needs? Do you want your child to learn alphabets or be inspired by things around her? Should the school be close to home or work? Make a list of things you want the school to provide before starting the search.
- Visit the preschool: Visit schools and converse with the staff. Find out the following aspects about the school. Are teachers engaged with the children? Are teachers, staff, and director/principal of the school open to conversations? Is the setting appealing to children? Do you hear children laughing and enjoying? Or is the atmosphere silent?
- Quality teachers: Are they friendly, able, and patient? Talk to them and see if they are knowledgeable. Converse about the value of early development and education. What are their educational backgrounds?
- Non-teaching staff: Meet the non-teaching staff and trust your gut. Do they seem warm and friendly? Will your child be safe around them?
- Daily schedule: What do the children do in a day? Is the scheduling rigid or does it give time for children to break the flow of one activity to enter another? Do the activities aim at developing important age-appropriate skills such as communication, learning, thinking and so on? Is there room for creativity?
- Size of playgroups and student-teacher ratio: It is important that a young child gets necessary attention. Young children are still developing social and emotional skills. It is crucial that they get the opportunity to be noticed and express themselves. When a single teacher handles more children, she may not be able to give individual attention to each of them.
- Meal and nap times: Is the school providing healthy snacks and meals? Are children advised to use the rest room? Do they wash their hands before and after the meal? What if a child doesn’t eat? Is there a planned nap time?
- Infrastructure: Are playrooms clean, safe and spacious? Are toys safe and child-friendly? Are there enough resources for all the children so they don’t have to wait too long for their turn? Do they have outdoor play areas and safe play equipment?
- Safety and overall development: Ask teachers if your child will be taught about health, hygiene, safe touch and good manners. Will your child be encouraged to come to the teacher if she feels uncomfortable in any way? What safety precautions are in place?
Make your own checklist. Include all the points listed above and add your own questions. The school should welcome and feel encouraged by your questions. It is good to find out more about the visitation policy and parent-teacher meetings. A preschool should be fun for a child, and the child’s family should always feel welcome. Good luck finding the perfect preschool for your little one!
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