As a parent, you likely take your child’s educational future very seriously. As a part of that, you will probably agonize over choosing the school environment that will provide a strong foundation for everything that is is to come — a preschool.
Step 1: Narrow it Down
Looking at a long list of prospective preschools can be overwhelming. The first step is to take that long list and narrow it down to the schools that can actually work for your family in a practical sense. There are certain considerations like location, scheduling hours, and price that are going to eliminate some schools before you even start. In doing this, you start with a concise list of preschools that could work for your child and your family.
Step 2: Pros and Cons
Now that you have a few possibilities, do some deeper research into this shortlist. Check out their websites, read online reviews, and perhaps more importantly, ask the opinions of other friends, family, or community members that have experience with the schools. Make a comprehensive list of not just those opinions, but of the aspects of each school that you like. You should also make a note of anything negative that could help you to narrow down your decision.
Step 3: Schedule a Tour — Your Checklist
At this point, there are probably a few strong preschools that you are considering. To get a personal experience of the school environment and staff, schedule a tour. Before you arrive for your tour, make a checklist of the things you should be looking for and the questions you would like answered while you are visiting. These are the main characteristics of a preschool that you should consider:
How do the staff interact with the children?
Do they have real, caring conversations with the children?
Do they look like they are enjoying their job?
Are they properly trained for their positions?
School Environment and Safety
Does the environment feel imaginative and welcoming?
Is there plenty of child-sized furniture?
Are the classrooms decorated with print, numbers, educational items, and student projects?
Does the overall environment appear safe?
Is there an appropriate emergency plan in place?
Class Schedule and Curriculum
Is there a plan for each program?
Do the programs include hands-on projects and learning?
Are there any special/unique programs?
Is there time for indoor/outdoor play?
Is the curriculum well-rounded — will your child be exposed to a wide-range of subjects?
Are there programs beyond preschool?
Does the school offer a sense of community?
Does your family feel welcome?
Is there an open line of communication between staff and families?
The schools you visit should be willing to spend adequate time with prospective families and answer any questions that you may have. With this list and your own research, you should be prepared to fully evaluate which preschool is the best fit for your child and your family.
As educators, we strive to pr