Finding the perfect preschool for your child can be an overwhelming and daunting task. An exceptional early education program can put your preschooler on the path to success, but how do you know what to look for when searching for the right school? There are countless factors to consider, and we’ve narrowed it down to six key components.
Know your child’s needs.
In order to find the right preschool for your child, you must first determine what factors are most important to you. From the classroom environment, to the types of meals and snacks provided for children, to how the staff responds to emergency situations – all of these factors will affect your child’s preschool experience. Does your little one have certain dietary requirements, allergies or health issues? Is it especially important to you that your child have access to a safe outdoor environment for daily physical activity? Can the preschool you select work with these details and provide the best environment possible for your child? Ask yourself these questions in order to know exactly what you’re looking for once you begin your search.
Do your research.
It’s important to do research when looking for the proper preschool for your child. Turn to your inner circle of family, friends and neighbors and compile a list of recommended schools to look into. It’s comforting to know that the people you trust already have a great school in mind when starting your search. Find out what they did (and didn’t) love about schools their children have attended, and go from there. If you have just moved to a brand new city or state and don’t have any connections to turn to, consult a referral agency such as AdvancED or NAEYC to find a list of accredited preschools in your area.
Take a tour!
You can only receive so much information online, so go ahead and schedule a tour once you’ve found a few schools you like! Prepare a few questions beforehand, and take notes as you explore the facility. When visiting multiple preschools, all of your observations can blur together. This comparison checklist is perfect for helping you evaluate each school you visit and keep track of certain factors, so you can make the best decision for your child. Remember – classroom layout, facility cleanliness, and staff/student interactions are just a few important components to consider.
Ask about the curriculum.
Each preschool can have a different approach to education. Play-based learning typically includes both indoor and outdoor activity, involvement in music and creative expression, and focuses on allowing children to explore a variety of activities. On the other hand, some preschools choose to take a more structured approach, incorporating subjects like math and science into their curriculum. It’s important for your child to develop cognitive and fine motor skills while also socializing, building confidence and independence, and exploring new interests. As you learn more about the varying curriculum among each preschool you visit, you may realize your child meshes with one learning style over the others.
Observe staff/student interaction.
When taking tours and meeting staff members, pay attention to the way teachers and students interact. Excellent teachers should be able to describe how classroom activities benefit the students, and speak to children on their level, both figuratively and literally, by kneeling down to participate in activities with children and making the effort to relate to each child personally. How is the student/teacher ratio? A chaotic, overfilled classroom means less supervision and less attention for your child. If potential future teachers ask questions about your little one’s learning style and interests, you can take comfort in knowing they truly invest in their students and prepare as best as they can to be able to teach each child individually.
How is information communicated to parents?
How are parents updated on important information? Is there a monthly newsletter, weekly emails, or daily texts to keep parents in the loop? It can be difficult for some parents to leave their little ones in the care of others, so frequent updates are key. Additionally, it may benefit you to ask if there is a strong community for parents at the preschool you’re considering. As a new family, it never hurts to get in touch with other parents who are willing to answer any questions you may have, and offer their advice.
By following these steps in your preschool search, you are bound to find the ideal school for your child. Take notes, keep the most important factors at the forefront of your mind, and go with your gut when making your final decision. You’ve got this!
For more information on special preschool programs that help and support your child in reaching his or her learning goals, talk to the staff at one of the premiere schools listed on Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies Atlanta. The Kids ‘R’ Kids First Class Curriculum® incorporates many learning tools that are fun and engaging, and the staff would love to discuss each program with you.
About Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies®
Headquartered in the North Atlanta suburb of Duluth, GA, Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies ® provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. With over 160 locations in 15 states, Kids ‘R’ Kids International ® is a family owned and operated organization that ranks in the top 10 nationwide for franchised early childhood education centers. Find a Kids ‘R’ Kids location near you.