It is often found that, the children who attend a good preschool have better language skills, longer attention spans, and stronger cognitive and social skills. They are also more likely to graduate from high school and then have higher paying jobs in the future. Thus, preschool plays an important factor in a child's academic success. Here are a few questions that will help your child get the right preschool. You are likely to get the answers to these questions by visiting the preschool, and by speaking with the director/teachers, along with watching a class in session. Here we go:
What type of school is it?
Preschool: Well, in preschool, students are taught by teachers. Their programs may range from 2-5 days per week. Children can attend the classes for three hours, or less. Here, parents may have limited volunteer opportunities.
Daycare: Daycares offer academic activities. This type of program is not typically as structured as a regular preschool program. Here, curriculum and designated learning times may not be apparent.
Co-op: In this type of preschool program, parents can actively participate. Tuition is often less than other preschool options, since parents regularly volunteer time to assist the main teacher.
Headstart: This is a free preschool program for low-income families, or families with foster children.
- What kind of credentials do the teachers have? Do they have degrees in Early Childhood Education? How much education do the teacher's aides have? The higher the education of the teachers, the better program will be. Has the school been accredited by the NAEYC? (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
- What is the class size? Look for a lower teacher to student ratio.
- Is there evidence of learning? Look at the classroom. Is there student art on the wall? What does the art look like? Is it all the same, or are children allowed to express creativity? Do you see exploratory activities such as paint, water tables, sand and play kitchens?
- What kind of instruction is offered? Child-initiated activities allow children to actively participate in their learning. Look for a preschool that has limited whole group activities and that uses little to no worksheets.
- What is the discipline policy? Look for one that is similar to yours, or that you agree with.
- What kind of equipment is available? Look for a school with play equipment in good condition. Children should be allowed to play outside on a daily basis, weather permitting. Is the preschool child-friendly? Look for child-size tables, chairs and bathrooms.
- What is the snack policy? Does the school provide snacks each day? Do parents take turns and sign up on a monthly basis? Do parents send snack with their child daily? How does the school handle food allergies? Do they have a peanut-free zone?