6 Essentials While Choosing A Preschool
In this article, You will learn about 6 essentials while choosing a preschool. The key to choosing the right preschool is going into the process prepared. Prepared? Yes, prepared with a solid idea of what you want your child to gain from his or her preschool experience. This month’s feature offers helpful suggestions for choosing a preschool that is a good match for your child and your family, as well as information on some of the most popular types of preschool educational philosophies. In addition, you’ll find links to checklists that you can use when visiting and comparing preschool settings in your area.
So, What are the Essentials You Need to Look for in a Preschool When you’re Looking to Admit Your Child?
1. Know the Approach
Logically, the next important step in understanding your child’s learning needs is the assessment of the approach of teaching that the preschool follows. Be mindful that this approach is not that of the individual teachers but the overall belief system within the school. Curriculum form just a part of this.
The Montessori Method
The Reggio Emilia Approach
The HighScope Approach
The Waldorf Approach
2. Staff and their relationship with children
How teachers interact with students.
Teachers should get down to the students’ eye-level when talking. It’s also important to see real conversations taking place between the staff and the children.
Staff who obviously care about the children.
This can be seen in so many ways when you’re touring a preschool. You should see smiles and hear laughter in the classrooms. The staff members should be really listening to the students.
Staff who like what they are doing!
This is much harder to ascertain just from observing. Talk to the teachers, if at all possible, and a love for teaching will usually shine through!
Staff who have received adequate training.
The preschool director should be able to provide information about CPR training for teachers, as well as what professional development the staff receives.
While preschools are apt to be messy (they are a playroom for young children, after all), many moms advise checking that potential preschools are still reasonably clean. The first thing you should do is take a walk through the kitchen and bathroom of the school. That way you can see how they feel about hygiene, as you know it is very important.
Young children are more prone to infections than older ones and entering an environment completely different from the safe and protected one at home exposes them to a host of germs. While it can’t be avoided completely and is even recommended to build their natural immunity, the preschool should follow basic cleanliness. A look at the bathrooms and kitchen will give a good idea of the school’s standards.
Are you selective about what your child eats? Look into what kinds of foods are served to make sure the menu is consistent with your child’s health and nutritional needs. Allergies can also be an issue. Lots of centers are peanut and egg free but they explained that they cannot be totally responsible for what is eaten beforehand.
5. Number of Caretakers
Young children need a good deal of supervision and help for most of their basic needs. A school with a low staff to child ratio will result in overworked and eventually disgruntled staff. This will affect the individual and personalized attention each child gets and the overall quality of teaching care will deteriorate.
Ask about how many caretakers are assigned to each class. Are they going to be the same people who run regular jobs like cleaning the school or cooking? The number of caretakers or ‘ayahs’ is likely to be more important than the number of teachers since they are expected to be ready for action in case of any trouble.
6. Drop by and Spy
While word-of-mouth referrals from other parents or trusted resources are important, you need to look at a place for yourself to assess whether it meets your needs. Of course, any child-care environment should be kept clean, childproofed, and well stocked with sturdy books and toys that are age-appropriate.
Other details to consider: When older children share the space, toys with small parts (choking hazards) should be kept away from younger babies. Ideally, infants and babies should have their own area where they won’t get “loved” too much by older toddlers. A room or separate area dedicated solely to swings and bouncers may look appealing at first glance, but keep in mind that growing babies need plenty of floor time to develop and strengthen their muscles. If possible, try to visit the same centers at different times of the day to get a sense of how the staff interacts with the children and what the routine is. You may want to consider popping in unannounced a few times after you’ve enrolled your child, just to see how things are going. Sometimes your visits will confirm that the place is right for you, but sometimes they’ll be a real eye-opener.
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