As a child enters into preschool they begin their academic adventures, as well as their social adventures. However, some parents find the process of letting their child go to preschool a difficult one, and even more difficult is the process of choosing a preschool. This is especially true for first time parents. With a little research it will be easy to determine which preschools are ineffective and which ones will truly get your child prepared for the school career.
Below are a few tips for those parents that have decided it is time for their child to begin their academic journey but are unsure as to how they should go about choosing the perfect school.
Determine When the Child is to Start Preschool
Parents should always think ahead when considering putting their child in preschool. Almost all preschools require applications to be filled out and these applications generally have to be filled out at least a couple of months before the child is to start. If a parent waits till the last minute they often find the best preschools are already booked up and open houses are over. Each preschool has its own application deadlines so it is wise to contact each potential preschool and see what their qualifications and deadlines are.
The parent of a child is the best person to decide what environment will best fit their child. When searching for a preschool parents should first determine what type of environment they are seeking; something academic based or social based. If the child is very young and shy then maybe a social based preschool should be sought to enhance their social skills. As the child grows there is nothing wrong with changing preschools and enter into a more academic based school; once the child’s social skills are enhanced they should have no problem changing schools. Changing schools also prepares children for the many changes that occur in life, it helps them to properly deal with changes.
List Out the Potential Schools
Since there are so many preschools to choose from it is wise to write out a narrowed list of the schools that are the most potentially considered. It is also smart to start narrowing schools down by asking friends and family of which schools they most recommend. It never hurts to ask a child’s pediatrician what their recommendations are also.
Make Sure Rooms and Toys are Clean
No matter how expensive or inexpensive a preschool’s rates may be it is crucial that the building is clean. Not only should the building itself be clean but the appliances and toys inside should also be clean. It is important to keep in mind that a child will most likely be eating at the school so checking out the school’s kitchen is a must when performing a walk through evaluation. Is the floor dirty or well kept? How clean and well stocked are the bathroom facilities?
This is especially important for your child as it may be their immune system’s first real exposure to outside bugs. Statistically, if you child gets sick, it is 80% likely that the cause originates from their educational environment. A school that keeps their floors and bathrooms clean, will keep other areas clean and sanitary too.
Determine How Many Hours the Child Needs to Attend School
If the child is comfortable being away from home for several hours at a time then a daylong preschool day may be possible for the child to enroll in; however, if a child is not comfortable with being away from home then the child should be enrolled in a preschool program that only last for 2 to 3 hours.
Your schedule may also come into play, and you should consider when you are available to pick up the child. If this is your child’s first time away from home for an extended period of time, it may be best to error on the side of less time in preschool.
Pay Attention to the Toys Available in the Room
You can learn a lot about a preschool’s intentions by being conscious of the toys they have available. If there are a lot of toys around but are put away and organized. It most likely means that staff allows for “play time” but it’s well
supervised and highly structured. If the toys are spread out in the room and available for children to grab at any time they wish, this may indicate a poorly structured preschool program with little involvement of the teachers.
Final Thought: The Little Things Matter
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that your children’s preschool will be their home away from home for a large part of the day. Don’t over look the little things, if things don’t seem clean and the children don’t appear to be well supervised, keep looking! Staff may make excuses like ” you happened to come in at recess time” or “we just had some work done and have been focusing on the construction, we have cleaners coming tomorrow.” Remember that there should never be an excuse when it comes to your child.
If you don’t get a good feeling from one preschool, keep looking. There are a lot of different options available out there. You will probably be spending a decent amount of money sending your child to preschool so make sure you pick a good one from the beginning. There is nothing worse for a child then starting one school and then switching schools part way through the year. Pick right in the beginning and you can rest easy that your child is well taken care of and well on their way to a successful education!