Shortly after your child is born and you begin to regain some precious sleep, you realize that a mountain of decisions need to made in the upcoming years. When will your child start music and art lessons? What about sports? Most importantly, what preschool will your child attend, and how will it affect your child’s education in the years to come?
Here’s a quick guide that can help you identify what you need to look for in your child’s preschool and why it’s critical to your child’s formative years.
1. Identify Your Priorities
Location is critical when picking a preschool. Do you want a center that is close to your work, home or family members? Consider that you will be adding an extra stop in your commute every day. Also, you should look at the school’s educational philosophy to see how it aligns with you and your partner’s beliefs and goals. Different preschools focus on a variety of areas — from dance and music to language and culture immersion. You might even want to choose one with a Montessori philosophy.
2. Research Several Preschools
Word of mouth is a great way to ascertain which preschools are right for your family. However, you may want to check that the preschool is also licensed and accredited, which you can check through the Child Care Aware hotline (1-800-424-2246) or at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s database.
3. Visit Then Check References
Asking questions over the phone is fine, but if you want to get a sense of how the teachers and directors really run their space, an in-person visit is a must. You’ll get a feeling for the overall mood and cleanliness of the space as well as the types of activities and lessons little learners are completing. Then, ask for a list of references that contains parents or community members. Follow through with phone calls.
4. Bring Your Child
You can do your due diligence with research, but if your child doesn’t feel comfortable or engaged, then it’s not the right place. Ask if you can accompany your child for a trial visit. Your child’s input is important, too!
5. Get On A Waiting List
Once you’ve found “the one,” get on the waiting list. It doesn’t hurt to also write a letter to the preschool explaining why you are excited for your child to attend.
By researching your options and identifying your child’s needs, you’ll be able to find a preschool that prepares your child for all the joys and challenges of K-12 education.
At St. Andrew’s, our mission is to nurture every student in an environment that welcomes families of any faith and varying backgrounds. Take a tour to experience St. Andrew’s firsthand: www.standrewsschool.org/schedule-a-tour/