Looking for The Perfect Preschool Program? It’s out there!
I had decided that it was time to move away from the comfort zone of a small mountain town. Boy did I have a lot to do! New home, new doctor but most importantly- to find the perfect preschool for my son.
As an early childhood educator myself, I I had “standards” many people didn’t think about. I want to share with you key things to consider when picking out a new preschool for your family!
- Identify Your Priorities
When considering a new, or first, preschool program finding your “must haves” is step one. Consider the distance between your home and/or work and what would be best for you. What are the start and end times of your day (and your child’s.) Think about whether you want to commute. Commuting for a minute fit my family so I didn’t mind driving to the best preschool.
Further, be sure to identify the amount of care you will be needing. Are you looking for part time, full time, before/after school, drop in, or something else? Find a program that understands what you need and can work with those accommodations.
- The Curriculum…duh!
Any quality preschool program is going to have a top-notch curriculum program! Something to consider is, “Do they teach like I parent?” Consistency is key for brain development, don’t forget this! Curriculum offers more than a learning atmosphere. A class schedule should be posted visually for both parents and kids to see. Ultimately you want a curriculum that focuses on both academics, time for exploration and individual growth.
Also consider what is included within the curriculum. Are you wanting to be sure your child has ample time to explore art? Would you prefer a specific learning approach that you know would work best for your kiddo? These are all things you may want to look into before hand to lessen the stress on your shoulders.
- Ask for References
One of the best forms of reassurance is word-of-mouth! Ask your friends, family, or even your coworkers who have experience in choosing a preschool for advice on where to go. (A great place to look is Facebook groups for moms!)
Most of the time they can share real life experiences with you that may benefit your decision. You may even want to consider doing a little research yourself on the school(s) you are considering. Ask other parents why they chose (or didn’t choose) a specific program and look into their websites to look at reviews.
Great tool you can use is the Child Care Aware Hotline! Call (800-424-2246) they will give you licensed preschools in your area. These programs provide peace of mind knowing about programs affiliated with state standards
- Consider a NAEYC-Accredited Program
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a process that a center goes through to get the highest quality stamp. NAEYC holds teachers and establishments at high standards in all areas of development and community. NAEYC wants to ensure your family receives the absolute best early childhood.
(As a side note, I am proud to say my son attends one of the only NAEYC accredited preschools in Colorado, Young Scholars Academy!)
- Schedule a Visit!
Make sure you set a time to go and explore your different preschool options. Put the school through a “kid test” and see how your child reacts to the environment. Be sure you ask any and ALL questions you may have! This will ease your worries and you will get a feel on how the staff will treat you. Pay attention to the language used by teachers within the classroom,routine of the classroom, and discipline policies. Go and see for yourself how the values of the preschool align with your parenting style to be sure you are getting the best, consistent fit!
These are all things I considered when deciding to put my son in a new school environment. There were certain things I knew I must have when choosing a new preschool and I was sure to write them all down. I wrote down all my wants, needs, and questions and brought it with me when I went to check it out for the first time.
By knowing ahead of time what I was looking for, I was able to ease the chaos of finding the perfect preschool!
Callum Palmer says
References really should be one of the first things you start looking for when choosing a preschool, especially if you know other local parents. After all, it is very unlikely that a parent will allow their child to attend a certain preschool if they aren’t satisfied with it. At the very least references are a great way to start gathering the names of a few good preschools in your area.
Ashley Turns says
I like your suggestion to ask some friend and family about what preschool they would recommend to us. My husband and I are looking for the best preschool to have our son go to since I have to return to work soon. I will definitely have to ask some of our neighbors if they have any recommendations since they have kids a few years older than our son.
Cameron Bennett says
I like that you mention that one of the first things you should look for in a preschool is how close it is to your home and/or work. You want to be sure that it’s a good fit for your child as well so it’s good to take them to the preschool before making your decision. You want to be sure that they feel comfortable there and can adjust quickly.