What to Consider When Selecting a Preschool
How to Choose a Preschool
Choosing a preschool is a big decision for a parent. With different schools endorsing different philosophies, it can be overwhelming to understand what will be right for your child. Research suggests a strong correlation between high quality child care and higher levels of academic and cognitive achievement. This puts great importance on making the right choice from the start. A safe and nurturing environment, one that inspires children to seek knowledge and encourages appropriate social and emotional development are top priorities, but there are other considerations, too. Here are four key factors to research in your search for the best preschool…
Questions to Ask a Preschool
Teachers: It’s believed that 99% of your child’s experience at school is directly related to their teachers. Gather information on staff qualifications, field experience, educational background and length of tenure. Meet prospective teachers and ask questions. What do you love about teaching? What makes you happiest at this school? If you can, spend some time observing the classroom in which your child would be placed. This is the best way to see teacher-student interactions as well as experience the classroom dynamic.
Educational Philosophy: Most preschools follow a specific learning philosophy, whether it’s Reggio-Inspired, Waldorf, Montessori, child-centered/play-based or traditional. It’s important to select the approach that best suits the needs of your child, as well as one that reinforces your own values. During a school tour, ask “philosophical” questions. Why do you use this approach? How is it implemented in the classroom? What are its primary benefits for children? What makes it the best/most appropriate early childhood curriculum? Clear and detailed answers to these questions should support how the philosophy plays out in the classroom.
Established Communication Systems: Parents deserve regular communication with the teachers and staff about their child’s progress and development, including emotional, social and cognitive. The Compass School utilizes daily voicemail snapshots and curriculum highlight sheets to share with parents the general pursuits of the classroom. Child-specific portfolios and go home journals offer detailed information about your child’s experiences, and are completed on a weekly basis. Teachers post lesson plans and display project boards illustrating the children’s work on an ongoing basis. Parent-teacher conferences are held twice annually.
Safety and Security Procedures: The number one responsibility of any program is ensuring that children are safe and properly supervised. Informational packets should cover the basics of safety and security. However, if you don’t read or hear something you’re curious about, ask. It’s important to find out things like if the building is secure, whether teachers and staff are trained in CPR and first aid, sick policies, etc. Look to see if compliance reports are posted for parents to read. Never hesitate to ask questions to confirm that the school shares your expectations with regard to the health and safety of your child.
Other factors like cost, location, class availability, etc. play an important role as well. If these aspects don’t correspond with your schedule and family life, it’s probably not going to be the right fit. To find out more about The Compass School and whether our programs are a good fit for your family, contact us today to receive an information packet.