Choosing the right preschool for your child can be a daunting and difficult task. Finding the right environment that is perfect for their development and happiness is key for any mom or dad. Dropping your child off at school can be tough which is why you need the assurance of knowing that your child is in a safe, caring, educational and happy environment. Your child needs to be in a school where they will be stimulated daily – developing their fine & gross motor skills as well as their early stage reading & writing. It’s also really important to think about this as early as possible as places get booked up and waiting lists for your preferred school can be lengthy.
We have put together a few tips for you to think about when it comes time for you to choose a preschool for your little one.
Think about the basics. Consider what you want from the preschool and howthis will fit in with your daily life.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- 1. Would you prefer the preschool to be near your home?
- 2. If you work some distance from home, is it better for your child go to a preschool near to your work?
- 3. Do you have flexibility at work or do you run on a tight schedule? Not all preschools offer early drop off and late pickups. What time would you need to drop off and pick up?
- 4. Are you looking for a preschool that feeds into a primary school? This generally makes the transition from preschool to primary school a lot easier as many of their friends will be making the same transition.
After you have answered these questions – build a list of the schools you have in mind! Once you have narrowed down a few options - do your research! Ask a few friends, family members, your pediatrician and even your neighbor for any preschool advice. Head to social media and find a moms group in your area or a local community group. This would be a great place to ask a couple of questions and get some insightful information and recommendations.
Once you have done all your research and refined your options - set up appointments to view the preschools. Ideally, you should try go during the school day. This is an opportunity for you to see how the teachers interact with the children and to get a glimpse of the day to day activities.
Before your school visit, make a list of questions and a personal checklist. Using a checklist is a great way for you to make a note of what you need to look out for because it could become quite overwhelming, especially if this is for your first child.
- Try find out what their staff turnover is. This is always a good indication to see if the staff are happy with the environment they work in.
- Do all staff members have first aid training? Find out what the procedure is if your child is injured.
- What are the security procedures? Do you have to sign in and out each time you enter or exit the property?
- Do they offer an aftercare facility?
- Check out the bathrooms. Do they look like they are cleaned regularly?
- Have a look at the play areas. Does it look safe for your child? Does it contain a good mix of equipment and apparatus that is in good condition?
- Observe how the teachers interact with the children. Does it make you feel comfortable?
- What discipline structures do they have in place?
- What are their holiday operating hours?
- What values do they promote?
- Will you be given consistent feedback and communication on your child’s development?
- Are the children fed at school or do you need to send a packed lunch each day? If meals are provided, are they nutritious and do you have the option to rather send your own lunch?
- Take note of the teacher to children ratio. The recommended ratio is 8 children to one teacher. Do they follow this?
- Find out what your child will experience in an average day at preschool. What is the routine, when is nap time and when is play time?
- Depending on the age your child is when they enter preschool, they may need to already be potty trained. Is this a requirement or will the school assist in teaching your child?
The perfect school is hard to find which is why it is important to make sure that you feel comfortable dropping your child off there each day and that your child will be happy and well looked after. Good luck!