What to Look for in a Preschool for Your Child
Your child’s preschool is more than just a daycare. When you are ready to make the choice to send your child to school for the first time, you are setting the stage for a lifetime of educational success or struggle. With the right preschool, you can help your child fall in love with education and all that it entails, so the years ahead will be successful. So how can you determine if you’ve found the right one? Here’s what to look for in a preschool, so you can find one that fits your child’s needs.
1. Look for Adults Who Get on Eye Level
Visit prospective preschools at a time when children are present. Watch the teachers as they interact with their charges. Do they get down on eye level to talk to them, or do they tower over them like a commander? Talking face-to-face is the foundation of building a trusting relationship with a young child, and it is an important feature of a quality school.
2. Listen to Teachers Using Nurturing, Encouraging Words
Young children are learning about themselves and how to interact with the world they are living in. They are going to make mistakes from time to time, but instead of being punished, they need encouragement and nurturing. While there will be a place in a preschool for negative consequences from time to time, the overall tone should be one of nurturing. You can hear this in the teachers when they interact with the students, and if you do then you’ve found a good school. Preschool teachers should clearly understand children and what makes them tick.
3. Find a School with Consistent Routines
Consistent routines help young children build positive life skills. They learn how to share, how to clean up, how to take care of their school, and even how to eat healthily when they have a routine they can count on. While there should be some room for flexibility, a solid routine is a sign of a well-thought-out program.
4. Search for Play-Based Learning
When you enter the classroom, what is the overall tone and vibe? Are children happily engaged in play-based learning? Are they using toys and learning centers to explore their world, or are they sitting at desks filling in worksheets all day? While there may be room for some workbook-based learning and even reading circles, age-appropriate learning for preschoolers is play. In fact, inappropriate amounts of playtime in the preschool years has led to a rise in sensory processing and social disorders.
5. Notice Whether the Children are Active
There may be times, like circle time or art time, when children sit and listen to the teacher, but these should be limited. Preschoolers are made to move, and they shouldn’t be expected to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. Even circle and art times should have movement built in.
6. Watch for Safety
While nurturing your child’s development is an important part of a preschool program, keeping your child safe is the most critical item on our preschool checklist. Does the school have a secure check in and check out procedure? Is the play equipment, indoors and out, safe and secure? Do children have proper monitoring with appropriate staff-to-child ratios to ensure their safety? Does the preschool have plans for reporting accidents and getting emergency help if a child is injured? If you notice any safety concerns, ask about them, and do not put you child in the school unless you’re satisfied it is safe.
7. Notice Whether the Staff Seems Happy
Next, watch the staff and interact with some of them. Do the teachers seem happy to be at work, or do you notice a lot of complaining? The most important aspect in what to look for in a preschool are the teachers — they are what hold a quality preschool program together, and working with young children requires a special type of person. When teachers are supported well by their school and make a good wage, they are happier and more engaged with their students.
If you cannot get a feel for this, ask the director about teacher turnover rates. If teachers are constantly coming and going, it’s a sign of a problem within the facility that could lead to teacher dissatisfaction, which, in turn, could impact your child’s overall experience at the school.
8. Consider Your Goals
Finally, consider your goals for your child’s preschool experience. Do you want your child to learn how to interact with other children, learn how to read, or be exposed to a variety of concepts? These goals will be unique to you, but you need to outline them so you can be confident the school you choose is the right one.
About The Family of Faith Preschool
If you are looking for a preschool with happy, engaged teachers that is secure, supportive, and encouraging, consider The Family of Faith Preschool. We are ready to help your child learn to love school and start off on the path towards successful education through a positive preschool experience. Schedule a tour of The Family of Faith Preschool today.