Choosing a preschool for your child can be difficult. You want the best for them, but there are an overwhelming number of options. Information online is often conflicting or less sparse than information on elementary schools. It’s extremely stressful. Since everyone has different needs, you should be looking at preschools that are best for your family and your family only. In this article, we’ll explore a number of revolving pieces as to how to choose a preschool that’s best for your family.
The first thing you should consider is the preschool’s location. If it’s important for you that your child’s preschool is close to home or work, narrow down your options. You’ll want the school to fit into your life so that it’s easy to make drop-offs and pick-ups in a timely manner. Within a week, you’ll probably end up regretting choosing somewhere you have to commute long distances for.
Preschool is your child’s first introduction to learning and how the staff educates your child will make a difference on how they shape their lives. Think about the educational philosophy for the preschools you’re considering. Preschools often revolve around a central philosophy, so understand what you want before making a decision.
Faith based education will include biblical teachings. Montessori based education focuses on the development of your child as an individual, meaning that everyone learns differently and at their own pace. Waldorf education is based on developing intellectual, practical, and even artistic skills in a specific way using their senses. There are a number of other educational philosophies that preschools can utilize. Do some research and consider all of your options. Include whether or not the preschool will be child-centered, child-led, teacher-led, or co-operative.
Similarly, look at how a preschool disciplines their students. Do they use punishment or are they helping the children learn self-regulation? This will have a major impact on how your child develops, so it should be on your list of things to consider. Help-based discipline will help your child develop strong communication skills and conflict resolution.
Look at how many children there are for each teacher. If it’s too low, remember that your child won’t be able to get as much one-on-one time and the general control of the classroom will be much easier to get out of hand. It can be hard enough to care for one three-four year old child, imagine having to manage 30-40 every single day. Look for a high child-teacher ratio and avoid places with extremely low ratios to make sure your child is in a healthy learning environment that supports their development.
Schedule of the Day
How your child spends their time in preschool matters. They’re young and they need to move around a lot! At this age, having playtime is a great way to learn, so look at a typical schedule of the day for each of the preschools you’re exploring.
If your child needs special medication throughout the day, make sure you find a preschool that is qualified to administer it. This is very important and should be talked about both before you join a preschool and with the teacher before attendance starts.
If you’ve looked into all of these things, it’s time to do some research. Talk to your neighbors, friends, or family members to see if anyone has recommendations. Getting some outside opinions is a good way to see what the preschool will truly be like and how it has worked with other children. If you can’t find recommendations from people you know, check online. There are a ton of forums, blogs, and communities that will provide you with honest advice and helpful resources.
Planning a Visit
Finally, it’s time to plan a few visits. Once you’ve narrowed down a few options, get in contact with them and ask if you can schedule some time to come and visit the school. Come prepared with any lingering questions you may have and take the effort to be as observant as possible. If you find a preschool that you love and that seems like a good fit for your family, congratulations! If you don’t, keep looking. You don’t have to settle for something that doesn’t fit into your family values and needs.