Choosing the right preschool for your child is an important decision to make because it sets the foundation for your child’s education. Every preschool is run differently so there are many different factors that play into which school is the best fit for your child. This is not a decision you should rush into making or base solely on convenience – take some time to research schools, meet teachers, and figure out what your child’s learning style is. Here are a couple of tips to follow for choosing the right preschool.
- Find out the teacher-to-student ratio
Some schools are very crowded and may have one teacher leading a classroom of 20 or more. If your child is independent and works well on her own, this might work out just fine for her. Other children require individualized attention and perform much better when they have a teacher’s aide who can work with them one-on-one throughout the day.
- Visit the school
Schedule a visit to the school during a typical day so you can see teacher-student interactions and observe the classroom in action. Meet with the preschool teachers so you can ask them questions and see if you can meet other school staff. It’s also a good idea to talk to other parents who are at the school to hear firsthand what they think of it.
- Meet the principal
Although the principal/director of the school may not be interacting with your child on a daily basis, she is still in charge of the whole school so it’s important to get a feel for who she is. Does she have the same school philosophy and teach the same values as you? Does she know the names of parents and students of her school?
- Learn the curriculum philosophy
Many preschools are play-based because it’s believed that children learn best through play. Active and social kids do very well in a play-based school. Montessori schools focus on academics letting children make their own choices. Classrooms have specific areas based on language, mathematics, practical life, and more. Independent students do well in this classroom. A traditional, academic approach focuses more on math and reading skills to prepare kids for formal learning. Kids who do well with structure and following directions thrive in this learning environment.
- Nap time
Different schools will have different nap time schedules and if you worked hard to establish your child’s current naptime routine, you’ll want to find a school that will work with your child’s nap time. Children should nap at the same time every day and for no more than two hours. Also check with the teachers to see if you need to bring your own nap mat or pillow.
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