Choosing the right pre-school can be both exciting and a daunting process. Keeping the qualities you are searching for, it is wise to research about it early and apply to multiple programs because space is often limited. Here are things you look for before you go ahead:
Think about the basics:
Decide how the preschool will fit into your daily life. The points should be considered are
Be familiar with terms:
- Location of preschool- near home/workplace.
- How preschool timings can be adjusted according to your schedule?
- Does the preschool provide transportation convenience such as a bus service for the child?
It is important to become familiar with common terms such as "Montessori approach", "Waldorf Approach", "Child Centered", and "faith-based", what are the meanings of these terms and how can these help choosing you a preschool
- Reach out other parents: Ask neighbours, friends, family or paediatrician or your older child’s teacher- people you trust for recommendations of quality settings in your area. It is always better to do a little research about the preschool from the parents whose children are already attending a preschool. A little personal feedback from these parents may help you choose better.
- Go to the internet: An active preschool network community may help you decide. It can be a great place to look into useful advice and resources.
Arrange initial visit: Arrange for an initial visit and ask questions including these key ingredients of quality.
- Adult to child ratio.
- Group size
- Caregiver qualification
- Turnover time by the caregiver towards each child
- Plan a follow up visit with the child to observe how s/he functions with the program.
Make a choice and Stay Involved: Make the best choice for your child and family thinking about what you observed. After the choice staying involved is also important as choosing the preschool does not finishes up the work. Some ways to be involved are:
- Meet the caregiver regularly and ask questions.
- Offer to volunteer time when needed, like fixing broken toys or participating in clean up days.
- Be present for your child's birthday party.
- Attend annual functions or events from the preschool.
If it is difficult giving time in regular basis, you can still check in at drop-off and pick-up times. Ask the caregiver how the child is doing and how things are going.
Selection of best preschool for your child is not meant to be an overwhelming task. Being prepared makes the process efficient, meaningful and effective for both parents and children.