More and more research is showing how valuable it can be to send a child to a preschool program. To underscore that point, it is worth noting that about 75% of all young kids in the United States are actively enrolled in such a program. Before a child reaches the age of five, their brain will have grown faster and will grow more than it will throughout the rest of that person’s life. Therefore picking a good preschool program is crucial but what are the things to look for in a preschool? Here are a few:
- Look a the hours they offer. Every family situation is different. Some programs offer all day care, while others are only there to help children for part of the day. You need to look at your child’s situation, what their needs are, and what you need in terms of daycare. A half day may be all that you and your child need. Give this some thought before you start looking at local preschool programs.
- Look at the curriculum. Different programs focus on different things. Your child has their own needs. When you are thinking about the things to look for in a preschool, looking for the academic preschool curriculum for each is important. You may think that they need to start learning certain things early but there is value to the social and play aspects of many programs. Before you discount a program, talk to the staff about the purpose of the things they do.
- Ask how they find the staff and what the turnover rate. Happy workers are good workers. You want a place that treats and pays its people well so that that they want to work there. This is one of the things to look for in a preschool that is the most important. It is also important for your child to have a sense of continuity and when the staff is changing all of the time, it can be jarring for young children. Plus, if the preschool does not treat its people well, you really should go someplace else.
- Visit during operating hours to see how the staff interacts with the kids. It is worth your time to go by the preschool during normal operating hours to see how the children interact with the teachers and other staff. In a good situation, the staff and teachers will spend a decent amount of time down on the floor near the children they are working or playing with. You can get a lot of information just by watching the kids and the staff interact.
- Ask about their discipline policies. You do not want to send your child to a place whose philosophy on matters of discipline differ greatly from your own. This can be very confusing to a young child. How you choose to discipline your child and for what is a key part of the way you are raising them so you want to make sure you are on the same page as the school in this area. When you are talking to them about discipline, you should also ask how they handle religion. YOu do not want your child to be made to feel ashamed of your religious beliefs.
- Look at the play equipment. Take some time to look at the equipment in the play areas. When you are thinking about the things to look for in a preschool, making sure the equipment is in good shape and is well maintained is important. When playground equipment breaks down, it can be dangerous for children to play on. Plus, if they are not maintaining that, you can imagine what else they are neglecting.
- Ask what the policy is for emergencies. Emergencies come up. You need to know what their plan is if there is a weather or other emergency. You need to know how much time you have to get to the facility to get your child should that need come up.
When you are looking at preschools, you have a lot of options. This is especially true if you start looking early, which is something all parents should do. At the end of the day, your research will pay off when you find the right school.