Are you stuck in a rut trying to decide where to send your child for preschooling? You are not alone; once a child reaches an age at which he is ready for preschool, most parents find themselves in a sea of confusion regarding where to send their child. The values and character that a child inculcates during the growing years is what decides the course of his behaviour for the rest of his life. So choosing a preschool carefully is of utmost importance. The best bet is to start planning the search much earlier than the child is of the preschool age.
Identify what you want
If you have not started searching for preschools yet, it is good to start right away. Better late than sorry! Take reference from other parents that you know of who have already sent the applications to the selected preschools.
Decide what you want the preschool to have or be like. Do you prefer a preschool near your house or one near your workplace? Do you want the curriculum to have activities such as storytelling and dancing? Are you hopeful of the preschool to follow a particular approach or style to learning? Write each of these down so you can evaluate different preschools and the programs that each has. Once you have shortlisted the preschools, send the applications out to all of them. This will help you have one or two options as backup.
Doing your own research will help you choose the right preschool for your child. Ask around for the most reputable preschools in the areas you have selected. Friends as well as family will give you the names of different preschools. Moreover, aren’t personal references the best?
Ask the experts
If there is a childcare hotline in your neighborhood or area, you could give them a call and ask for the contact number of the local childcare resource or referral agency. These institutions will direct you to licensed preschools in the area. You could start by asking the contact numbers of accredited schools near you.
Many childcare websites help parents find the right preschool for their child. These websites will have guidelines as well as contact information of different preschools. You may also check the yellow pages online. The yellow pages will expose you to lists of preschools where parents can also rate; the ratings and feedback from parents will tell you whether the selected preschool is a good choice or not.
After carefully short listing the preschools, pay a visit. When visiting the classrooms, note the number of children in each classroom. The fewer the number is, the more attention each child gets from the teacher. Fewer numbers allow the teachers to also be responsive. Observe the way teachers behave or interact with the kids; if it is friendly, encouraging and caring, the school will be a great place. Make note of the environment; is it clean, warm and safe?
You could ring up at the preschool and ask preliminary questions such as the fees, enrolment, etc. Speak to the director about everything from fees, hours and vacation schedules, etc. Ask about staff turnover; if they tell you that the teachers change once every six months, it is best to move on to the next school. It is important for children to be used to consistency and have the time to form strong bonds with their caregivers.
At the end of it, choosing a preschool is your decision. If after visiting the preschool, you feel good about your child studying there, it is probably a good idea to move on with it.