Setting the Foundations of Learning: A Complete Guide on How to Choose a Preschool
During the first years of your child’s life, they’re completely under your watch. You don’t have to worry about outside influences, which allows you to raise your child the way that you want to. This can’t always last forever, though.
If both parents are working then daycare and eventually preschool are necessities. Choosing the best preschool for your child to spend some of these formative years is crucial. Today, we’re going to give you some tips on how to choose a preschool that’s consistent with the environment you want your child in.
You’ve got to ask a lot of questions and do a lot of digging to ensure that your child is going to get the skills and tools that will prepare them for elementary school. Fortunately, we’re here to help you figure out what those questions are.
Figure Out Your Must-Haves
The first thing you should do is create a list with some “must-haves” for your child. Doing this will allow you to rule out certain preschools right away and get a few others on your shortlist.
So, what would some of these must-haves be?
- Consider the distance you’re willing to travel from your home. One “must-have” might be the schools’ close proximity to your home or work.
- Another could be the preschool hours. If both parents are working every day, they might need a preschool that will keep the children occupied until 4 or 5 pm.
- Do you want a specific type of preschooling for your child? There are several different approaches to early education, so learn a bit more about things like the Montessori Method, the Waldorf Approach, or the Bank Street Approach.
- Cost is arguably the biggest factor for many people. Preschool prices can range from very low to very high, so do some research then set a limit that you need to stay under. This will rule out some schools right away.
Talk To the Staff
After you’ve got some “must-haves” written down, you can start mapping out some of the schools in your area. Your list of requirements should leave some obvious candidates and a few outliers. Don’t neglect potentially compatible schools because they’re slightly out of your radius or slightly above your price range.
The way that you’re going to find the best preschool for your child is by being open to slight inconvenience. Once you start conducting visits, you’ll find out more about the inner workings of the school.
An important part of the preschool experience is the teachers and staff at the facility. Go in and meet with staff at every preschool on your shortlist. Have a list of questions you’re going to ask every representative so that you’ll have answers to compare afterward.
You want teachers that interact in a positive way with their students, and staff that truly care about what they do. If you feel that they might be a bit jaded, or have one foot out the door, then rule that school out.
Base the quality of your visit on your gut feel. If you feel that your child would be in good hands, then keep it as an option.
Keep your wits about you when you’re walking around the premises. Take in your surroundings like a sponge and consider how your child would fare in an environment like that.
Make sure that the rooms are spacious and safe. Look at the furniture, toys, and playground to ensure that it’s all suitable for kids your child’s age. The overall vibe of the school should be welcoming and accommodating for kids of any background and personality.
What’s the Curriculum?
When you’re doing your tours and speaking to the guides or teachers, try to get a good sense of what daily life is going to be like for your child. The curriculum, along with the people teaching it are the two most important things in a preschool.
You’re going to want your child to spend their days at a preschool that’s in-line with how you educate and discipline them. Of course, you’ll never be able to achieve this 100 percent, but the preschool that you end up choosing should come somewhat close to your ideal.
For instance, you should find out how much time your child is going to spend “playing” every day. You’re not paying large fees to have them outside playing constantly. There’s value in playing with other children, but you need a good balance of playtime, schooling and learning core values.
At the Notre Dame Academy, we put a special focus on religion, but also English, math, science, and art. It’s important to us that your child receives a well-rounded preschool education so that they’re prepared for elementary school.
Compatibility With Your Child
After you’ve completed all of your school visits, talk to your partner and try to figure out which one is the best fit for your child. If they’re going to truly accept and enjoy this big change in their life, it’s going to have to be a welcome one.
Choose the school that’s both compatible with your child’s personality and those personal needs that you listed before you started doing visits. Then, all that’s left to do is figure out tuition fees and then enroll your child in preschool.
Learning How to Choose a Preschool Is Different For Everyone
Teaching someone how to choose a preschool is difficult because every situation is different. What works for one child and one family, might not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to write out your needs and do a lot of research before you choose one.
To enroll your child in one of the top Christian preschools in southern California, come in and visit us at the Notre Dame Academy. Our dedicated teachers and staff will give your child a rich cultural experience and show them the importance of being dedicated to academia.