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To ensure you make the best possible decision when choosing your child’s preschool, it’s important to ask the right questions during your initial research phase. Read on….
If this is your first time choosing a preschool, you might feel a little overwhelmed. There are many schools to choose from, and deciding on the right one isn’t always easy.
No worries. I’m a mom. I get it. And so I did some research on this topic which I’m excited to share.
I believe that asking thoughtful and comprehensive questions will help you gain a deeper understanding of the preschool’s philosophy, practices, and suitability for your child’s needs.
Here’s a guide to the essential questions to ask:
Safety is the number one most important factor when choosing a preschool. Ensure your child’s safety by asking about security protocols, health practices, and emergency procedures. Ask about childproofing measures and how they manage illnesses or accidents. Look for preschools that have clear, documented processes for all possible scenarios.
Understanding the preschool’s educational philosophy will provide insights into how they approach teaching and learning. Whether it’s Montessori, Reggio Emilia, play-based, or academic-focused, knowing the philosophy will help you determine if it is a good fit for your child’s personality and learning style, as well as for your own family’s parenting philosophy.
Learn more about the curriculum and daily schedule at the preschool. Ask about the subjects covered, activities included, and how they balance play and learning. Understanding the routine your child will experience day-to-day helps you assess whether it meets your expectations and your child’s developmental needs.
Learn about the teacher selection process and their qualifications. Inquire about their experience in early childhood education and professional development opportunities. Well-trained and passionate teachers play a crucial role in your child’s development.
A low teacher-student ratio offers personalized attention for each child. Ask about the class size and ratio to understand how much individual interaction your child can expect from the teachers. Also, take note of the state-required teacher-student ratio in your area to find out if the preschool you’re considering actually exceeds state requirements. Many preschools, such as a new Reggio Emilia-based preschool in San Diego, actually surpass state standards with smaller class sizes than what the state mandates.
Social and emotional development is vital in early childhood, and the preschool environment they’re part of will greatly influence their social development. Ask about the strategies and activities the preschool employs to foster skills like empathy, communication, cultural awareness, and emotional regulation.
Understanding how the preschool addresses discipline and behavior management is important. Inquire about their approach to addressing challenging behaviors and promoting positive behavior in the classroom. Similarly to safety, make sure the preschool has well-documented philosophies and procedures in these areas.
Ask about the level of parental involvement the preschool encourages. Engaging with your child’s educational journey through communication, parent-teacher conferences, school events, support at home, and more, can positively impact their experience.
Children have diverse learning styles and paces. Inquire about how the preschool accommodates these differences to ensure that your child’s individual needs are met. How do they support children who seek a different approach? What about kids who may benefit from additional challenges? These are great questions to ask a prospective preschool.
Find out if the preschool offers any extracurricular activities, such as art, music, language, or sports programs. These can enhance your child’s learning experience and provide opportunities for exploration and awareness of other cultures.
Arrange a visit to the preschool to observe the environment, classrooms, and teacher-student interactions. Visiting in person allows you to gauge the atmosphere and see if it’s a comfortable and engaging place for your child.
Understanding the fees, payment schedule, and any additional costs associated with the preschool is essential for your financial planning. This is typically in the form of tuition, but it is important to find out if there are other costs outside of tuition to consider.
Reading reviews/testimonials and connecting with parents whose children already attend the preschool can provide valuable insights into their experiences and satisfaction with the program.
Ask about the preschool’s approach to preparing children for kindergarten. A smooth transition to elementary school is important for your child’s future educational success. Ask the preschool how they plan to prepare children for the experience and curriculum of kindergarten.
Asking these questions will empower you to make a well-informed decision about the best preschool for your child. Take your time, gather information, and ensure that the preschool you choose aligns with your child’s needs, your values, and your expectations for their early education.
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