A big part of the news cycle these days is the importance of preschool and the “strong correlation between high quality child care and higher levels of academic and cognitive achievement.” This places great importance on selecting a preschool for your child. Without a doubt, a warm, safe and nurturing environment that inspires learning while supporting social and emotional development is key. As you research, plan and visit the preschools, be sure to consider these additional factors:
Educational Philosophy: Many of the preschools follow a prescribed learning philosophy and it is important to choose one that best suits your family values. Ask questions about the philosophy, why did the school choose this philosophy, and how is it applied in the classroom? What are the benefits to the philosophy verses another philosophy? Is the school licensed? Accredited?
Teachers: The fond school memories we hold as adults are often a direct correlation of the teacher and classroom experience. Be sure to gather information on the faculty and staff, meet with prospective teachers, ask about their educational background, observe a class and see the interaction between the teacher and children.
School - Family Partnership: “It takes a village to raise a child,” says an old adage. Entering into a partnership with a school, where the child’s success is first and foremost, is a vital ingredient in selecting a preschool. The mutual and trusting relationship that forms in these formative years will provide families with a strong support system for years to come. Do clarify how the school and family will communicate with respect to a child’s progress and development, how often will this communication occur, what will be communicated and who will be communicating.
Safety First: Ask how the children are kept safe and properly supervised. Are there emergency drills; is there a security system, if the faculty and staff trained on first aid, what is the allergy protocol, what is the sick policy, etc.? Most, if not all schools, will have all these systems in place to keep children safe.
Location, Cost and Family logistics: Be sure to consider where the school is located, the cost and the effect on your family day to day logistics.
It is a wonderful time in your life and in your child’s life; enjoy the journey as you plan and research the preschool of your choice.