Preschool is the first step on your child’s academic journey, which serves as the foundation for all future learning. Your child will learn the basics like the alphabet and numbers, and important social skills like how to be independent, how to share and how to follow instructions as well. Learn about How To Choose A Preschool, and then choosing a right preschool for your child will be easy when you plan ahead and know what your expectations are from a preschool program. Investing the time to research can help ensure your child have a great preschool experience.
Here, we give some suggestion to help parents to find the preschool fits the particular needs of your child and family. From academics to socialization, and transportation to how long the school day is, here’s how to carefully weigh each aspect of preschool and make a decision that is right for your child and your family.
When should I start?
Many preschools start to take applications in January, and may hold open houses even sooner, but you should check with each individual program. Start looking at schools in September before you want your child to start to attend. In many cases this is when your child is 2. Check with the school to find out the details on age qualifications and other factors such as potty training.
Figure out what is important to your child and your family
You should pinpoint your top child and family needs. Focusing on a few of your highest priority needs is critical for narrowing your search and choosing a preschool that is a great fit. What do you want from your child’s preschool? Are you looking for a rigorous academic program or something more socially-based?
Consider the following major factors
Preschools will vary by cost, length of program, school’s philosophy, religious affiliation and student teacher ratio. Collect the following information by searching online and offline resource and by making calls.
Depending on where you live, the cost of preschool can be pretty expensive. Decide what you can afford so that you can focus on the schools that are in your price range.
Length of program
You will want to determine how many days and for how long you want your child in preschool. While some preschools offer many different programs at all times of the day, some may only have one set program.
Each preschool may have its own philosophy. For example, Montessori schools are famous for fostering independence, Waldorf schools for their creativity; the High/Scope method sets personal goals for kids. So do your research. You can also find programs run through churches where religion is part of the everyday curriculum. Other options include programs affiliated with community groups such as the YMCA and state-run programs that are often free for all residents or low-income families.
A large number of preschools are held in church, but that does not mean there is religious education involved. And many religious-based preschools will allow a child of any faith to attend. The only way to be sure is to ask the director specifically.
Student teacher ratio
Each state law requires a preschool to have a certain number of children per teacher. Many schools may follow this, but some schools may offer a better ratio, namely fewer children per teacher, but often at an added cost reflected in their tuition. A good guideline is one adult for every seven 2 1/2- to 3-year-olds or ten 3- to 5-year-olds with no more than 14 students in a room for 2 1/2- to 3-year-olds and 20 for 3- to 5-year-olds.
Transportation and distance
How far away is the preschool from your home? How will your child get to school? Will your child ride a bus or will you pick your child up and drop him or her off? A preschool close to where you live may make it easier for your child to foster the friendships he or she makes in school.
Make a list of some preschools
One way to find a good preschool is to ask around. Talk to your friends and other parents and ask where they send their children to preschool. A good recommendation is a great place to start. Be sure to ask your friends what they like and do not like about the school.
Select several preschools you want to learn more about by considering the above major factors, and plan several on site visits.
Go for site visit
Doing a site visit to all of your potential choices is necessary. Call ahead to schedule a mutually convenient time so you will be able to meet with either the school principal, director or a staff member to talk and take a tour of the facilities. Bring your child to the school to see what he or she thinks. Most schools will welcome the opportunity to meet potential students and a visit will also help your child start to understand what preschool is. Check for proper licensing, and on your tour of the school pay close attention to how clean the school is. Talk to the principal, teachers, assistants and staff. Be sure to inquire about safety and security procedures and what their policy is about picking up your child.
You may also want to ask more questions in depth. For example, what your child learns? How your child learns? If you are permitted to do so, do not approach the teacher or children during the lessons and try to stay for at least a half hour so you can get a better feel for how the class runs.
Make your decision
After you have done several visits on your potential choices, and once you have narrowed down your choices, you may decide your top three choices that most closely matches your criteria by your child and your family’s needs. Preschool should be a place where your child learns to love school and learns to love learning.
Preschool is a great foundation for your child’s future education. A good program will help prepare your child both socially and academically. Preschool is the building block of early childhood learning and helps prepare your child for that next step, elementary school. Parents should plan ahead of time and do your research to find the best preschool for your child because preschool sets the tone for later years of education. If your child’s first experience with school is happy, then he or she will think school is a happy place-and that is what any parent wants.How To Choose A Preschool for your child depends on your child’s individual needs.
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