Choosing A Preschool

Choosing a preschool for your child is an important process. Here are some suggestions that may help you in deciding on a preschool.

Preschool can be an excellent tool in introducing your child to the school environment. It has the structure that is present within a classroom and promotes social development. However, selecting the most appropriate preschool can be a daunting decision. Here are some suggestions that may help you in deciding on a preschool.

Referrals

A good way to start when selecting a preschool would be to ask family, friends, or co-workers for recommendations. Look for recommendations from people who believe in the same philosophies that you have on parenting and education. What others are looking for in a preschool may or may not be exactly what you are looking for. A lot of times, based on these recommendations, you can weed out the preschools in which someone may have had a bad experience with. You can also look in the yellow pages for a preschool in your area. Before making any final decision, you would want to visit the preschool and interview the staff.

Licensing, Accreditation, and Policies

When you interview the staff, you will want to find out about their license and accreditation status. The preschool's state license should be current. A state license means that the preschool has passed requirements for health and safety. An accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young People would be recommended. There should also be clearly established rules and regulations set by the preschool. Issues such as sick children, immunizations, and discipline should be addressed within those guidelines.



Teacher's Credentials

The staff should be well trained and experienced. They should also receive ongoing training, to keep current with the educational trends. An associate degree in early education or course work in that area would be an ideal educational background for the teachers. While visiting, watch how the teachers interact with the children. The Director of the preschool should have a degree in early childhood education. They should also have experience working in this environment. All staff should be trained in CPR and First Aid.

Class Size

You will also want to see that the preschool is adhering to the class size guidelines. The student to teacher ratio should be 15:2 for 3 year olds and 18:2 for 4-5 year olds. Along with the student to teacher ratio, you would want to make sure that there is enough space for the children to play in. Since most of the time spent may be in play. Adequate spacing could mean fewer accidents and/or quarrels amongst students.

Timing

Some preschools are offered weekly, while others may be offered three days a week. How often you would like your child to attend depends on you and your child. The ideal time frame would be approximately 2 ½ hours.

Curriculum

Preschool is a place where children can learn the alphabet, colors, numbers, and shapes. Although there should not be a rigid academic curriculum in place, there should be regularly planned activities. These activities should be age appropriate. Some preschools have an academic focus while others prefer learning through play. The ideal choice would incorporate both techniques, since learning varies with some children.

Other information that may be important in deciding on a preschool would be the fees, the cleanliness of the environment, the organizational skills of the staff and administration, and the appearance of the children. Do the children seem happy? Are they being stimulated? When narrowing down on a selection, it may be a good idea for your child to visit for a day. If the school meets all of your requirements and your child is pleased, then you have a winner!

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