The process of choosing a preschool can seem overwhelming. From researching curricula to actually visiting schools, there are a lot of steps involved in this process. So to make it a little easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of a few important steps to follow when choosing a preschool.
Start as early as possible: When it comes to choosing a preschool, it’s important to start earlier than you may think is necessary. Not only can finding a good preschool take a while, but many preschools often have waiting lists, especially private schools. So by starting early, generally about a year before your child would be attending school, you’re giving yourself plenty of time to make a good decision.
Check local resources: One of the easiest ways to learn more about potential preschools in your area is by checking local resources. These can be events like preschool fairs, reading online reviews, and even asking your neighbors or parents you know about their experience with preschools. Checking resources and reviews will give you a better feel for the preschool. And in doing this, you can begin to gather a list of prospective schools and start visiting them.
Schedule tours: After you have a list of a few preschools you’re interested in, it’s time to schedule tours. When visiting preschools, you should be sure to check for red flags — you should ask about curriculum, class sizes, activities, and how involved parents are in the school. Also check for things like diversity, especially seeing as how having a multi-national school identity can help students adapt to the globalization of the 21st century. Make sure to gather as much information as you feel necessary.
Pay attention to the staff: The staff members at the preschools you’re looking at are going to be a major deciding factor. After all, your child is going to be spending several hours each week with them. So when you visit schools, pay attention to how the staff members interact with the children. Staff should get down at eye level with the children and always treat them with respect. How do the staff members talk with and play with the children? Having interactive, hands-on relationships is important for preschoolers and their teachers.
Learn about their policies: When you’re choosing a preschool, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with the school’s policies. These policies could be regarding things like discipline and fostering independence or even things like snacks and nap time. You should even ask about policies regarding the use of technology and what happens when a child is sick. The preschool staff members are going to be responsible for taking care of your child during the week, so it’s important that you understand and agree with how they’re going to do so. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be to make a decision.
Be mindful of communication: As a parent, it’s crucial that you stay involved in your child’s education, especially in the younger years. This is why strong communication between parents and the school is essential. Teachers should stay in touch with parents regarding their child’s education — whether it’s about their success in the classroom or troubles they’re having, parents should always be kept in the loop. And school administrative staff should be in contact with parents regarding school events and any problems that may arise. So make sure you figure out how and when the school communicates with parents.
Know your needs: Finding a good preschool also involves focusing on your needs as a parent. Do you need your child to go a full day or can you pick them up in the afternoon? How far away is the preschool from your work? Does the tuition fit in your budget? You need to choose a school that aligns with your needs to ensure you can get your child to and from school and stick to your regular schedule. All in all, it’s important to make sure your needs as met as well.
Trust your gut: Lastly, you need to make a decision on what you feel is best. You know your child better than anyone and you should trust yourself to make a decision based on their needs. If something feels off about the school, listen to that instinct. You should never send your child to a school just because it’s highly recommended or highly rated. So gather as much information as you need and trust your parental instincts when choosing a preschool.
Hopefully, this article will help guide you throughout choosing a preschool. Following these steps can ensure you choose the best preschool for your child’s needs. Finding a good preschool can be a long, trying process, but it’s worth it in the end.