Hi everyone, I'm starting to look at preschools for my daughter for next year and I'd love to hear how other parents approached this process.
-What factors were important to you in choosing a preschool? Class-size, location, cost? -Did the school's philosophy play a major role in your choice? -How did you decide what kind of preschool would be the "right" fit for your child and your family?
Any suggestions, feedback or advice you can give me is greatly appreciated!
TJ, it might be different for you since your daughter has already been in daycare. In my situation, preschool was my son's first "group" exposure to other children. I just wanted a nurturing enviroment that would provide an opportunity to develop good social skills, and the fact that the preschool was affiliated with our church was a real plus, since it was nearby, and I already "knew" their philosophy.14227
Location was part of it. It was less than three miles from my house and in the University community where my husband worked.
School's philosophy was part of it as my daughter needed a strong learning environment.
Our decision was based on what we saw such as, a state certified teachers, a lot of tricycles for children to ride, students' arts works displayed around ( not teachers or mothers), a lot of books and learning materials, students' smiling faces, busy children, playground,and the professionalism of the faculty and director.
Please note, this preschool was just like a lab for the University and lot of funding from state, local, and individuals.
If possible, visit the school with your child and observe her closely. My daughter did not want to leave this particular school during our visit because the classroom was inviting and educational. Also, visit the school when the children are in the classroom and make your decision based on what you see in the area of play, academic, theater, and human relations ( director or teacher's first reaction to your child and others). Go with your spouse or someone in case you miss something, your companion will see it or remind you. visit the second time if you like the school.
You are the best teacher for your child, you may want to create a mini classroom in your home and read, read, read, read!
Let me see if I can help, my son is starting Kindergarten this year and my daughter starting preschool. The first step I would choose is taking a good look at your child. Is your child a social butterfly, or is work in that area needed. Many preschools are directed specifically toward social skills and interaction the first year. If your child is very social already and you may want a more academic approach to learning as opposed to mainly social skills, you may want to look into that. Some preschools start their programs with only two days for the first year and 3 for the second. Some schools offer 3 for first year and 5 for second, depends on how many days you would like and how much you are willing to spend. Other factors to consider, the age cutoff dates, depending on your child's birthday. I chose a Methodist preschool for my son based on our church affiliation, and came to realize they don't teach that much religion to make a difference on affiliation. When choosing for my son two yrs ago, I didn't know that some schools were social and some were academic. I chose the social school not knowing the difference, and my son who was very intelligent and already very social was somewhat board with this school, even at a very young age he was not challenged enough and became disruptive. I have an almost 3 yr old daughter who is very much the same as my son, enrolled in a much more academic school. Hopefully she will have fun, as well as be challenged a little. Student/Teacher ration is also important. My sons school had a ration of 20 kids/3 teachers. My daughters school is 15/2. Location, I wouldn't recommend more than 10 miles, unless you work and the prschool may be close to your work. As far as cost, if it is an issue, ask the price first before you fall in love with the school. If not an issue, anywhere from $95 to $135 the first year depending where you go. I really hope this article answers your questions. No matter where you send your child the best advice I can give is to be a very involved parent, from classroom to homework! Good Luck!14225
The best advice I could give is to go to the preschools in your area at any time during the day unannounced. You will get to see what really goes on when they are not expecting some one and if the kids are happy or yelling. Also if some one is willing to answer questions and show you around means that they care enough to try to get you to pick their school. Other things to look for are schedules of daily activities, cleanliness, student to teacher ratio, and if your child likes the teacher. Also stop back by unannounced before you make the final decision just to make sure you didn't't overlook anything. I used to work at a daycare/preschool and these seemed to be the issues that most parents looked for (plus showing up unannounced catches the school off guard so you get a good feel for it). Hope this helps and good luck.14224
Our oldest daughter started Kindergarten this year and our youngest a new preschool. Both have been in preschool previously, but this last year we used a nanny. So going back to a preschool was a big deal for our 2 1/2 year old.
Some decision factors were location to home and the other schools, cleanliness, teacher/student ratio, being able to show up unannounced, but most importantly was the interaction between the teachers and my child while we were looking and how inviting they were to her. Some schools we looked at just let her stand off to the side and watch, where others tried to include her right off the bat. I found that the ones that were more inviting wanted her there even though we were not signed up yet.
I also suggest having someone else like a friend take your child without you, if possible to see how they react at the school you are considering. Most kids will get more involved if they are interested and feel comfortable when mom is not around to hang on to.
Good luck. It can be as hard on the parent as it is on the child.14223
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