Selecting a preschool for your child can be a pretty big deal. Some might think that it’s “only” preschool and the choice doesn’t matter all that much. But preschool helps your child to grow a range of skills and sets them up for school. It gives them a chance to make friends and build their social skills, while also working on a range of other things through play. If you have a choice of several different preschools, deciding which one is right for you and your child can be tricky. However, it can help to think about a few different factors that can affect the experience.
Look at Different Teaching Philosophies
The first thing you might want to consider is the general outlook or teaching philosophy of the preschool. This could be a mission and values that they define themselves, or it could be a certain educational or childhood development philosophy. There are options such as Montessori schools or forest schools that are based around a particular concept or philosophy that you might subscribe to. This all relates to how you want your child to learn and develop. What sort of support do you want them to have? What sort of opportunities do you want them to have so that they can learn and grow?
Consider the Basic Facts
There are definitely a few basic things that you might want to check off your list when you’re trying to find the right preschool.
Some of the things you might want to think about are:
- The location — is it in a convenient place for you, whether it’s close to home, work, grandparents, or elsewhere? It’s also worth checking the situation with drop-off and parking.
- Class sizes — how many children will your child be sharing a class with, and what’s the ratio of adults to children?
- The application process — how can you apply and are there requirements to get in?
- Preschool type — what type of preschool is it and how is it funded (private, co-op, Head Start, etc.)?
Check Staff and Their Qualifications
The staff at your chosen preschool needs to be able to provide the right level of care and education for your child. You should check that they have training and experience in early years education and childcare. This could include college degrees in childhood development, early childhood education, or similar subjects. You can often find out about the staff from the preschool’s website, but you can also inquire directly.
Visit the Preschool
Visiting a preschool that you’re interested in is the best way to get a good idea of whether it’s a good fit. You can see how everything works, meet the staff, and take a look around the facilities. You may be able to organize a visit and a tour, which can also give you a chance to ask questions. Some places could have an interview or assessment, especially for more exclusive preschools that could have entry requirements or waiting lists.
Before you choose a preschool, think about what you’re looking for in your child’s early education and development. It can help you to make the right choice for both of you.