“Learning is a process and a preschool starts the academic journey for your child. A preschool definitely makes a great start for your child, but you also must ensure that you look at all important factors before you select the preschool you find most suitable for your child.”
You probably think you have this preschool application thing solved.
By comparing the cost, location, length of the school day and quality of the playground, it may seem obvious where to send your kid for a day of finger painting and circle time. Ok, mom and dad. Those factors are important but kind of obvious.
One thing you might want to consider: Are the other parents like me? Ann Furst of St. Louis, MO, recently changed her son’s preschool and realized she and her husband were looking for a good community of parents. “We realized that we would have the potential to meet life-long friends through our son’s nursery school, so we wanted to be sure we were surrounding ourselves with other families that had core values similar to our own.”
So what else should you really be thinking about? “There are hundreds of factors parents can use when deciding on preschool, but they often miss the point and are blinded by perks,” says Jenifer Wana, author of How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child. “In the scheme of things, an organic garden for the kids to farm in will not make or break their experience.” Schools make a big deal over their extra programming to differentiate themselves from other schools.
Together with Linda Hassan Anderson of the National Association for the Education of Young Children in Washington, D.C., she created this list of the 8 factors parents need to focus on while touring the preschool circuit.
1. The Teaching Staff
Reggio Emilia. Montessori. Waldorff. There are plenty of school philosophies but most likely it’s not going to make or break your child’s preschool career or experience. The more important, if not the most important factor, both experts say, are the teachers. And it’s the most difficult thing to evaluate!
So what makes a great teacher? The best teacher will bond with your child and make him feel safe. Once they have that connection the teacher can more easily help your child learn. Pay a visit to the classroom at various times during the day so you can observe free and directed play. Does the teacher engage the kids, crouch to their level, ask them open-ended questions and encourage them to be inquisitive? “Even at recess they need to be teaching by helping kids interact with each other, focusing on sharing and taking turns,” says Wana. A great teacher will also help kids socialize and encourage a student who is standing alone in the corner to join in and play with others.
2. The Director
“She might not be present in your child’s day-to-day schooling but she’s extremely important because she’s in charge of running the school, setting the curriculum, motivating the teachers recruiting teachers and families and managing the budget,” says Wana. Some are warm and fuzzy and know all the students’ names while others are more focused on fundraising and management. Whatever her style, she needs to be effective in running a successful school, minimize staff turnover and keep teachers enthusiastic about their jobs.
Set up a meeting. What is his/her philosophy for the school? How does she …