How to Choose a Preschool
Written by: Kokotree
Choosing a preschool can be overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider! What is the right environment for my child? What will they learn? How much will it cost? This post will help you determine what to look for and how to choose a preschool for your child.
Look for a preschool accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
When looking for a preschool for your child, it is crucial to look for a school accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
The NAEYC is the leading organization in the United States that sets standards for early childhood education programs. Preschools accredited by the NAEYC have undergone a rigorous evaluation process. They have been found to meet or exceed the NAEYC’s standards for quality.
Accreditation by the NAEYC is a voluntary process. Preschools seeking accreditation are doing so because they are committed to providing the highest quality early childhood education possible. When selecting a preschool for your child, look for one accredited by the NAEYC.
But what if they are not accredited?
If the NAEYC does not accredit the preschool, it does not mean it is a bad school. It may just mean that the school has not been accredited. You can still research the school to see if it meets your standards for quality. Many excellent preschools are not accredited.
Make sure the preschool has experienced, qualified teachers.
How to pick a preschool? It is vital to ensure that the school has experienced, qualified teachers. The teachers at a preschool should have experience working with young children and be certified in early childhood education and have experience with a quality preschool curriculum.
The ratio of teachers to students should be low enough that each child can receive individual attention. Studies have shown that children attending high-quality preschools are likelier to succeed in school and life.
Choosing a preschool that will set your child up for success is essential. By ensuring that the teachers at the preschool are experienced and qualified, you can be confident that your child will receive a high-quality education.
Observe the classrooms and see how the children interact with the teachers and each other.
Tips on choosing a preschool for your child during the preschool age: When you visit a preschool, take some time to observe the classrooms and see how the children interact with the teachers and each other.
The classrooms should be clean and organized, and the children should be happy and engaged. If the children seem bored or restless or constantly fighting with each other, that may be a sign that the preschool is not a good fit for your child.
Similarly, if the teachers seem frazzled or unhappy, they may be unable to provide a suitable learning environment for your child. Pay attention to the physical environment and the interactions between children and adults to better understand the preschool experience.
Ask about the curriculum and ensure it is developmentally appropriate for your child at preschool age. This will help you choose the best preschool environment for your little one.
Find out what type of discipline policy is in place.
Determining the discipline policy at a preschool before enrolling your child is essential. The discipline policy should be based on positive reinforcement, not physical punishment.
There are several parenting styles, and finding one that aligns with your values is essential.
The authoritarian parenting style is one in which parents use physical punishment to enforce rules and instill obedience in their children. This parenting style is generally associated with poorer childhood outcomes, including increased aggression and antisocial behavior.
Suppose you are looking for a preschool with a more positive discipline approach. In that case, it is vital to inquire about the specific policies. Preschool should be a time for children to learn and grow; a favorable disciplinary policy can help support this process.
Make sure there are opportunities for outdoor play.
There must be opportunities for outdoor play at a preschool. Children must explore their environment, burn off energy, and get fresh air.
The playground at a preschool should be safe and well-maintained, with plenty of age-appropriate equipment for the children to use. By providing opportunities for outdoor play, we are giving children a chance to develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally.
It is important to remember that children learn best through play, so the playground should be where they can feel free to explore and imagine. Outdoor space is essential for child development, so we must provide opportunities for it.
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Ask about the school’s policies regarding communication with parents.
It is always a good idea to ask about a school’s policies regarding communication with parents. You want to be able to quickly get in touch with your child’s teacher and receive updates on your child’s progress.
A preschool should have a communication policy in place that is designed to keep parents informed and involved in their child’s preschool education. The policy should allow for easy and convenient communication between parents and teachers.
Parents should be able to choose the method of communication that best suits their needs, whether by email, phone, text, or in person. The school should also allow parents to access their child’s progress information.
Parents should be able to log into the school’s website or portal to view grades, assignments, and other important information. The school should also send out regular updates to parents, such as newsletters or progress reports.
Teachers should send these updates regularly so parents can stay informed about their child’s progress and feel involved in their child’s education.
Consider your budget and make sure the preschool’s tuition is affordable.
When choosing a preschool, it is crucial to consider your budget and ensure affordable tuition. Many preschools offer scholarships or financial assistance to families who need help paying for education.
It is also essential to evaluate the quality of the preschool program. Ensure the curriculum is appropriate for your child’s developmental level and that the teachers are well-trained and experienced.
Also, visit the preschool and observe a class in session before making your final decision. Considering these factors, you can choose a preschool right for your family.
Take your time and visit several different preschools before making a decision.
Before enrolling your child in a preschool, take the time to visit several different schools and compare them. Consider all the factors important to you and your family when deciding.
One factor that may be important to you is the school’s curriculum. Another factor may be the school’s philosophy or religious affiliation.
Consider the school’s location, the class size, and the teachers’ credentials. You can make an informed decision about which school is right for your child by visiting several preschools.
Make sure the preschool is located in a safe and convenient location.
It’s essential to choose a preschool that is located in a safe and convenient location. The preschool you decide on should be in a safe neighborhood and easily accessible for drop-offs and pick-ups.
Location is significant because it will determine how easy it is to drop off and pick up your child daily. If the school is not conveniently located, it may be difficult for you to commute daily.
Safety is also crucial, as you want to ensure your child is in a safe environment while attending preschool.
Choosing a school with a good reputation in the community is another way to ensure that your child will receive a quality education.
Get recommendations from friends and family.
Word-of-mouth is still the best way to find a quality preschool. When talking to people who have already been through the process, you can get first-hand information about what worked and what didn’t.
In addition, talking to people who know your child can give you a better sense of which preschool would best fit. Friends and family can also provide support during the transition to preschool. If you have any concerns, they can offer advice and reassurance.
Finally, because they care about your child, they want to ensure they are enrolled in a quality program. So, if you are looking for a preschool, ask your friends and family for their recommendations.
What are the preschool’s policies?
- Parent Involvement – When choosing a preschool, it’s essential to understand the school’s policy on parent involvement. A preschool that encourages parents to participate in school events, volunteer in classrooms, or join parent-teacher organizations can create a strong community and develop better communication between parents and educators. This involvement not only helps parents stay informed about their child’s progress but also allows them to contribute to their child’s overall preschool experience.
- Nutritional Policies – Inquire about the preschool’s meal and snack policies, which are crucial to your child’s health and well-being. Find out whether the preschool provides meals and snacks or if parents must pack them. Ask about any allergy accommodations, such as nut-free zones, and whether the preschool promotes healthy eating habits through balanced and nutritious food options.
- Transportation – If transportation is a concern, exploring the preschool’s transportation options is essential. Some preschools may offer bus services or arrange with local transportation providers to ensure children can safely commute to and from school. Understanding these options can help parents choose the most convenient and suitable preschool for their family.
- Types of Preschool Programs – Familiarize yourself with different preschool program types and philosophies, such as Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and play-based learning. Each approach emphasizes early childhood education and provides unique learning environments. Researching these philosophies will help you understand the differences between programs and choose the one that best aligns with your child’s needs and educational values.
- Language and Cultural Diversity – Consider the importance of language and cultural diversity in preschool settings. Some schools may offer bilingual programs or focus on multicultural education to expose children to different languages and cultures. These programs can promote inclusivity, foster a global mindset, and help children better understand and appreciate cultural differences.
- Inclusion of Special Needs Children – If your child has special needs, it’s essential to investigate how the preschool accommodates and supports children with disabilities. Look for schools that offer Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or other support systems, such as specialized staff and resources, to ensure your child receives the necessary attention and care to thrive in the preschool setting.
- Transition to Kindergarten – Understand how the preschool prepares children for the transition to kindergarten and supports them during this process. Ask about any kindergarten readiness programs or activities that help children develop essential skills for their next educational phase. A smooth transition can significantly impact a child’s confidence and success in their future academic journey.
Check out online reviews.
In our modern world, being savvy about the resources available to you is essential. With a few clicks of a button, you can find everything you need to know about almost anything.
When choosing a preschool for your child, take advantage of the information at your fingertips. Many websites offer reviews of local preschools written by parents just like you.
These reviews can be extremely helpful in narrowing down your options and finding a quality school for your child. So before you make any decisions, be sure to check out online reviews.
Schedule a tour of the preschool and meet with the director.
Before enrolling your child in a preschool, schedule a school tour and meet with the director. This will give you a chance to see the school in person, ask any questions you may have about the program, and get a sense of the school’s culture and values.
The director will also be able to tell you more about the curriculum and how it is tailored to meet the needs of each child. By taking the time to tour the preschool and meet with the director, you can ensure that your child is enrolling in a program that is right for them.
What questions should I ask the preschool administrator?
As you begin your search for the perfect preschool for your child, you must ask the administrator a few key questions. By doing so, you’ll get a sense of what the school is like and whether it is the right fit for your family. Here are five questions to get started!
Remember: Choosing a preschool is about trust, communication, and transparency. If you feel uncomfortable with the administrator or they are unwilling to answer your questions, it might be time to look elsewhere.
We recommend you read through these questions and pick the most important to you and your family.
Great to ask over the phone or in person.
- How can I schedule a tour of the preschool?
- What is the admissions process?
- When are applications due?
- What are the requirements for admission?
- Is there a lottery? What is the process?
- When will I be notified about admission decisions?
- What is the waitlist policy?
- What are the enrollment numbers for the current school year?
- What is the projected enrollment for next school year?
- Is the preschool accredited?
- What are the accreditation standards?
- When was the last accreditation review?
- What was the outcome of the review?
- Are there any plans to seek reaccreditation shortly?
In-person questions to ask when you visit the preschool.
- How long has the preschool been in operation?
- What are the school hours and vacation schedule?
- What is the average class size?
- What is the teacher-to-student ratio?
- How are the teachers trained and certified?
- How are discipline issues handled?
- What does the curriculum cover?
- How much time is spent on academics vs. play?
- What opportunities are there for socialization and extracurricular activities?
- How does the school accommodate special needs children?
- What are the safety and security procedures?
- What are the school’s policies on communication with parents?
- Do you use a mobile app to communicate and share updates with parents?
- What type of communication happens on the app? Texts? Photos? Videos?
- Can I call you directly?
- What is the procedure for requesting a meeting with the teacher?
- What is the process for requesting a meeting with the administrator?
- What is the process for resolving conflicts with other parents?
- When will progress reports be sent home?
- When are parent-teacher conferences held?
- Is there a dress code policy?
- What is the discipline policy?
- How are bullying and harassment handled?
- What are the consequences of breaking school rules?
- What is the attendance policy?
- How can I obtain a copy of the school’s handbook?
- What is the school’s policy on releasing student records?
- What is the school’s policy on fundraising?
- What is the school’s policy on field trips?
Cost and payment options.
- What are the tuition rates and payment options?
- Do you have a scholarship or grant opportunities?
- What are the costs for after-school care?
- What are the prices for extracurricular activities?
- Do you offer any discounts?
- What is the refund policy?
- What is the payment schedule?
- Are there any additional fees?
Questions about your child.
- How will my child’s individual needs be met?
- What type of support will my child receive?
- How will my child’s progress be monitored?
- What opportunities will my child have to socialize with other children?
- What are the school’s policies on inclusion?
- What are the procedures for testing and assessment?
- When will my child be evaluated for academic placement?
- What are the gifted and talented programs like?
- What are the opportunities for extracurricular activities?
- How will my child’s transition to kindergarten be handled?
- What are the policies on homework?
- What is the policy on absences and make-up work?