Is your little bundle of joy now big enough and ready to face the challenges of a preschool? Your child’s educational future depends a lot on this initial learning stage (whether you teach preschool at home or send them to a preschool outside the home), hence it important that you know how to choose a preschool.
You will first need to write down all your requirements for a preschool with your spouse, especially in terms of schedules, medical and food policies, desired philosophy of teaching, and the maximum distance it can be located from your house or office.
Once you have your list of requirements ready, read through our list of topics and questions to consider below. These should help you to have quality information when it’s time to choose a preschool for your child.
How to Choose a Preschool for Your Child
1. Teacher to Child Ratio. What is the teacher to child ratio in the preschool? The policy on this ratio may be different across the states. If the ratio is very small, such as 1:3, your child will get a lot of personal attention; however, he or she will have only a limited number of playmates. A higher ratio is fine if the teacher’s aides are utilized and your child will be well looked after.
2. Toys and Tools. What are the tools and toys being used by the preschool for teaching? How often are the toys cleaned and how are they maintained? How often are they replenished? It is important that the preschool buys the latest puzzles, jigsaws and other such toys which are instrumental in your child’s learning, and is on top of current safety recalls.
3. Communication. How will the school communicate with you about the progress for your child and bring up any issues they might be concerned about? Do they want parents to be involved in the teaching process and how? Check the policy of the school; some schools provide a weekly or monthly status, while others have conferences or an open door policy for parents.
4. Food. Is food served at the school? If yes, check the menu and decide whether it is nutritional and healthy for your child. If food is not served by the school, then check how they would be handling the food you send for your child. Do they require only cold foods or don’t mind if leftovers needs to be warmed up?
5. Curriculum. What are the educational guidelines followed by the school? Do they follow the philosophy such as learning by doing or more traditional learning methods of book learning and instructions? To what extent will your child be allowed to make choices about what to learn and when?
6. Safety and Illness. What are the safety and sick child policies of the school? Do they ask the parent to pick up the child when sick in order to prevent other kids from getting sick? Do they have a doctor or nurse handy just in case a child falls ill?
You will get a fair idea how to choose an ideal preschool by answering these questions. Once you have short listed the schools in your area, it’s best to plan a visit to each of these schools. Talk to the teachers or the director personally, rather than relying on information you collected from other means, and get a feel for if the preschool is a good fit for your child.
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