How to Choose a Preschool for your Kid

There are lots of planning that goes into making your kids comfortable and set in life. From preparing for your baby can be overwhelming even before they are born and when they are, the list just gets longer. One major milestone is getting your kids ready for school. The first day of school is a big event and emotional time for both parents and kids. It is a right of passage when your baby outgrows their Baby Loafers and get into their school loafers and sometimes school uniform.

Keep in mind that your kid starting school means it’s the first time they are going to be away from home and away from you and it can be quite scary. This is why you have to choose the right school for your kids and make sure they are in the right environment getting the right care and the right kind of learning. Think about choosing a preschool the same way you would think about finding a new job or a new pediatrician for your child. In either situation, you would expect to invest lots of time and energy in making the right decision. You should do extensive research, ask around and seek advice from friends and neighbors. You should ask for referrals from families that have kids in preschools to get the latest information on the best schools and their services. If your child is in a daycare and is about to transition into a pre-school, you can also ask the daycare center for recommendations or ask fellow parents.

Make a List of School Options

Narrow down your choices based on cost, distance from your house or job, and other basic factors such as the type of school (i.e is ti private, religious, charter school etc). Find out if the schools on your list are accredited and if they have clear and good regulations. A good one should have consistent rules that it makes clear to parents so they know what to expect. You should also ask about the teacher-to-student ratio – the fewer children a teacher has to be responsible for, the better for your child since she’ll receive more attention). A good ratio is 8-19 kids per teacher ratio. You also might want to ask about staff turnover, since this is a good indicator both of how happy the staff is and how happy your child will be over the long term. Once you have a list of choices and recommendations, start calling to book appointments to visit the school and take a tour of their facilities.

School Ideology

Another important factor to take note of when doing your research is finding out the school’s philosophy on educating toddlers. The fundamental principle they subscribe to may be traditional or a hybrid or religious. Whatever its leanings, it’s important that the preschool has a plan in mind for how to teach and care for its students, and that you agree with the general drift of its philosophy. A school with some ideological foundation is better a school without one as that’s usually a recipe for chaos. Young kids are very impressionable and a lack of rules and guidance makes as much an impression as a sense of order and positive guidance.

Visit the Facility

There’s only so much you can learn through a website or over the phone. Seeing a preschool for yourself gives you a much better sense of the way it operates, and if it will be a good fit for your child. When you have your short list, schedule visits to the schools that made the cut. You’ll need to meet the preschool directors in person and observe the teachers with the children. They are the ones your child will interact with most, so it’s important that you find a school with warm people with lots of experience caring for preschoolers. You also might ask the school for the names of some parents you could speak to. If they refuse to connect you with other parents, know that this is a bad sign as a staff that’s proud of their school’s success will be happy to connect you with fellow parents.

Visit Again with Your Kid

After your initial visit, make another appointment to bring your child along for a visit. See how your child responds to the school and the teachers and if they are excited about what they see. By watching how she reacts you’ll have a better idea whether a preschool is a good fit. Kids have instincts too sometimes better than adults, and if they are not feeling it, do not dismiss it but rather take it into consideration when making your final decision. However keep in mind that even if your kid seems reserved, the school might still be a good fit, especially if your child often takes some time to warm up to new places and people.

Trust Your Instincts

Most important, trust your instincts. A preschool may boast new books and toys, have a gleaming new building, and be affordable to boot, but if it doesn’t feel right then it isn’t. It’s essential that you feel comfortable with the school’s director, who runs the establishment and sets guidelines for your child and with whom you’ll be interacting should issues or questions come up in the future. You should also feel secure and pleased with the teachers, who will be spending many hours with your child day in and day out. At its best, this will be a long and productive partnership.

Consider Your Child’s Unique Needs

Think through what kind of environment your child will need to thrive, and seek out a preschool that’s a good match. Every child is different, and some preschools are better equipped to handle those differences than others. Your child might be an introvert who likes to have quiet spaces or alone time sometimes consider this when looking through the facility. If your child is an extrovert who likes to play around, make friends and discover new ways to play, make sure the facilities encourage such for example, what does the playground look like? What is the vibe of the school hallways and are children encouraged to explore. What kind of toys do they have around the classrooms and playground? Take note of these things. Also, for example, some preschools may require your child to be potty-trained, while yours is struggling a bit in that area. Or maybe your child relies on her daily afternoon nap, and the timing of the program doesn’t accommodate that. Or perhaps your child has special needs that the preschool’s staff aren’t well versed or experienced in handling.

Don’t Wait

Register your child for school ahead of time and the soon as possible. The sooner the better because waiting lists can be quite long and you don’t want to be left stranded or forced to choose a school that’s not your first choice.