Choosing the right pre-school for your child

Contrary to what you might have heard, choosing the right preschool for your child is not as difficult as applying for an advanced degree. The key to choosing the right preschool is going into the process prepared. Yes, prepared with a solid idea of what you want your child to gain from his or her preschool experience.

Here are a few pointers.

Think about the Basics

Think about how the preschool will fit into your daily life.

Ask yourself,

  • Is it important for the preschool to be near my home?
  • Is it important for the preschool to be near my workplace?
  • Is it important for the preschool to offer childcare services in the morning, afternoon, or both?

Answering these will help you narrow down the general location and type of setting you should research and makes the process of comparing settings easier to manage.

The Research

Reach out to other parents: Ask your friends, neighbors, pediatrician, your older child’s teacher – ask people you trust for recommendations for quality settings in your area. Be mindful to note the name of the setting and what struck this person as important to mention (low student teacher ratio, close to home, child is excited to arrive, etc.). Most parents will be happy to offer their insight and advice.

Go to the internet: You might be surprised to learn that your community has an active preschool networking community, a great place to tap into useful advice and resources, including online groups. Or, you can use the internet to search the names of settings to find out if they have any “red flags” like numerous complaints from parents, health or safety violations, or other noteworthy issues.

The Visit

After you have narrowed down your choices and come up with two or three settings you are interested in, schedule a time to visit each setting. You can learn a lot about a setting by the way staff approach introductory visits with you and your child. During your visit ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do I feel welcome here?
  • Does my child seem interested in what they have to offer?
  • Do the children in the setting seem happy?
  • How do the adults and children interact?
  • Is the setting clean and safe?

You should also go to the visit prepared with questions. Some of the basic questions parents ask are:

  • What is the turnover rate for staff members?
  • What percentage of the staff hold degrees in early childhood?
  • How does the setting handle discipline?
  • What are the safety procedures for picking up and dropping off children?
  • What are the payment options and procedures?

Remember, choosing the best preschool for your child does not have to be an overwhelming task. Successful parents go into the process aware, informed and ready to ask questions.

Being prepared will make the process efficient, effective and meaningful for you and your child.

(Check out our website for a listing of Pre-Schools and Kindergartens. Click Here >>>>)

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