It can be difficult to know which preschool is the right one for your family. On the surface, what looks like a clean, safe, and well-run child care center may not be the right fit once you’ve already registered. Knowing how to choose a preschool is important to go beyond appearances and really dig deep into how the center operates, the educators and their child care philosophies.
The following are some of the most important areas to explore when you’re considering preschools for your child:
If possible, speak with other families who have worked with the teachers and ask about their work. The best predictor of future performance is past performance, so chatting with other parents can provide you with invaluable feedback that will help you make your decision.
Do some research online to see what kind of information you can uncover about the preschools you are considering. Watch out for any poor reviews, which can be red flags. You may also discover positive information about a preschool online – perhaps it has an active online community you can participate in.
Ask about the number of staff, teacher to child ratios and the staff turnover rate at your prospective child care center. Inquire if the educators hold degrees in early childhood education, and if the center invests in ongoing professional development for its staff.
Observe Teaching Styles
As a parent, you should always try to evaluate preschools and their educators by observing them in the classroom setting. How do they deliver their curriculum? Does it focus on play-based learning or strict lesson plans?
You can learn a lot by watching how preschool staff interacts with children in both group and individual settings. Watch and see if the children are interested in what activities the teacher is presenting, and if they seem happy and comfortable in their environment.
Ask educators about their personal philosophies on learning and development. Preferably, you’ll want to choose a preschool teacher who follows an emergent curriculum, but in any case, they should have a thorough and passionate response to this question.
When thinking about how to choose a preschool, consider how your prospective preschool communicates with parents. Do they send notes home with your child, or do they make use of the latest child care technologies to stay in touch? Consider which type of communication best suits your needs.
Need more advice on how to choose a preschool? Check out the blog posts below to learn more about the types of preschools and educational philosophies you might encounter:
My brother and sister-in-law need to find the perfect preschool program for their 3-year-old daughter. Thank you for mentioning how you can get invaluable feedback about preschools from other parents. I will have my brother and his wife ask other parents they trust for advice on a great preschool for my niece.
It really helped when you described how we could know about a childcare’s past reviews. Recently, my sister said she needs to start looking at childcare centers before they run out of space. My sister doesn’t know what to check out when touring preschools, so I’m positive that your article will help her. Thank you for helping us understand why a childcare’s online presence it’s key to our selection process.
You made a good point that it’s important to also consider the teaching style of the teachers when looking for a good preschool. I’m interested in looking for one soon because I want to start my daughter’s education early. I think that will help her excel a lot easier in the long run.