As your child is now 2, 3, or 4 years old, it’s time to find a preschool and you may be also figuring out how to choose a preschool. Well preschool is the first step on your child's academic journey and it will serve as the basis for all future learning.
Finding a quality preschool can be challenging as it will not just teach the basics like the alphabet and numbers but preschool also teaches some important skills like social skills, how to share things, how to follow directions or say how to be independent.
In this article you'll read about tips which will help you begin choosing a preschool or child care centre for your child.
What is Preschool?
Preschool, popularly known as nursery school or pre-kg or U-kg, is a facility that provides early childhood education to young children until they are old enough to start kindergarten.
Why is Preschool Important?
Preschool learning is important for your child as various studies have shown that early education in general increases a child’s cognitive development, improve behaviour during elementary school years, and when they grow up, these students are more likely to have a skilled job.
Researchers also state that kindergarten readiness is a reliable predictor of future school performance.
First thing - Know your child: The first and foremost step in getting ready for preschool is making sure that your child is ready. There is a great deal of variability and also what is right for one child is not always works for another.
So, you’re sure that your child is ready, then the process of finding the perfect preschool starts. Generally kids aged 3- 4 are ready for the preschool, sometimes it is even 2 but it depends from children to children.
Here are some tips that will help you find perfect preschool for your child:
Teaching is interactive and engaging: One of the important things is that the teachers should interactive enough so that they can encourage children to talk. They should also praise the child’s positive actions and inspire them to learn and grow will their peers.
Know about Curriculum: Yet another important thing is to know about the curriculum as it may vary widely from one preschool to another. Look for a preschool that offers rich content, hands-on learning, and developmentally-appropriate play. It should be that children should engaged actively in learning.
Staff who care about the children: The staff members should be really listen and care about the students, as these children would be very young so they require proper care. There should be a lot of interaction between students and their peers.
Staff behaviour: Talk to teachers, know about their thinking and method of learning, ask about the school’s turnover rate as it tells a lot of the school, if school has a less turnover rate then it may be a good sign.
Staff Training: Check whether the teachers received the required training or not, ask for CPR training of teachers and professional development they received. You can also ask for what qualifications do the teachers have?
Discipline Policy: Ask the school clearly about the discipline policy, as good teachers should practice positive discipline and whether they enforce discipline patiently and by teaching not by forcing kids.
Safety of your child: Ask the director about the school’s emergency plans, as well as the teacher-student ratios. A good school should have adequate emergency plans for the safety of the children.
Outdoor space: Outdoor space plays a major role in learning and that’s why many schools have taken a back seat in academic and have focused more on practical learning. This trend which was started in elementary schools is trickling down to preschools. Make sure your preschool provides plenty of time for outdoor play and exposure to nature and also you can take a look at the playground too.
Class Environment: The kids need to be comfortable when their little brains are growing and for that class environment plays a major role in helping them grow fast.
Classroom Space: Please do check that class rooms should be huge enough but it should be adequately sized.
Print –Rich rooms: Look for the schools which have word labelling parts and a lot of books in the classroom. See whether teachers are writing down children’s stories, decorative board and look for kid-made books.
Student work: Check whether class rooms are covered with student’s works like art, writing and pictures.
Look for signs of community: As you and your family will probably spend a lot of time at your preschool, it will become a place of community; see whether the preschool offers any events to foster the close relationship.
Various Activities: If your preschool provides various activities like art arts & crafts, music, language experiences, sensory play, science experiments etc. All the activities helps the students in learning new things and focus on well rounded children.
Communication: The communication between parents and school should be a smooth process, monthly meeting, newsletter, calendar and emails may be some ways the school can communicate with parents.
Expectations & follow through: Make sure that you ask the director about the behavioural guideline that prevails in the school. There should be some age expectations, along with clear rules and consequences, also tell them about your expectations from the school.
Pay an unannounced visit: Sometimes, what we see during a school tour may not be the real scene. When there are visitors, we all tend to behave best.
Visit the school during unannounced class time and see if you like the way the preschool runs when there’s no other visitors.
Ask for referrals: You can also ask for referrals from your close friends to get their opinions. Ask them specific questions and all your doubts regarding the preschool program, reputation, teaching staff, and curriculum. Once you've narrowed the search down, it's time to visit the schools.
Bottom line: Ask all the questions you have regarding the school program or activity, trust your gut and follow up. Try to build open communication with teachers and staff, listen to your child and do discuss your concern with school director or teacher
I’m sure by now we would have helped you in clearing your doubts about the preschool selection. Hopefully after reading this, you will able to select the preschool that’s best for your child.