The moment has arrived. My little baby has sprouted wings and is ready to leave the nest at least for a few hours a day. I am looking to find a preschool this fall that’s right for my baby (well not baby anymore), one that will make his days pleasurable, enjoyable with a nurturing and stimulating environment that I can get a peace of mind when I drop him and leave him. I know there are all these labels (Jean Piagét, Rudolf Steiner, or Maria Montessori) on preschools but I wonder what they really mean. So this is what I am looking for in short;
Where my child will be allowed to make choices about what he learns; Where a large part of the activities are directed by my child; My child’s social and emotional growth and developing values will be taken seriously; A pleasing environment, fun activities, and great attitude from the teachers (joyful & warm); Where I can be involved and is opened to parents and their ideas..I sound like a NEEDY Parent!.
So after reading this “According to the U.S. Department of Education, preschool plays a large role in later academic success. Children in high quality preschools display better language, cognitive, and social skills than children who attended low quality programs.” I decided to pull up my socks in the search and really get ontop of it.
Danielle wood (www.education.com) gives the following tips on what to consider when choosing a preschool;
- Credentials. Make sure the schools you are considering employ teachers that have earned early childhood education degrees. Ask if the school itself is accredited. For more information, go to www.naeyc.org, the website for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
- Hours. There’s a difference between day care and preschool. Day care often offers more hours for kids of working parents, in a less scheduled environment. Preschool programs tend to be shorter, and more structured. Decide your needs and look for a program that correlates.
- Discipline. Ask how the school deals with behavior such as hitting or biting. Ask how they deal with conflict – do they believe children should work things out themselves? Do they believe in “time outs”? It’s important that you agree with a school’s disciplinary approach and trust their judgment – small children have a hard time with mixed messages.
- Nutrition. One of the great things about preschool is that children are positively influenced by their peers – they may not touch fruit at home, but if everyone else is eating apples, they might be coerced to try them. Of course, they may also be negatively influenced. Does the school provide lunch and/or snacks or will you pack them from home? If they supply the goods, ask what they serve. Pretzels and cheese cubes, or cookies and milk? Don’t choose a school with a teacher who loves to bake if you don’t want your kids eating sweets. If your child has food allergies, make sure they can ensure their safety.
- Look at the Art. A picture is worth a thousand words, so look at what’s hanging on the walls. Does everything look the same? Is all the crayon within the lines? Some schools emphasize facts: “Trees are green.” Others encourage imagination: “Interesting. I’ve never seen a baby growing on a tree before!”
- Visiting. Does the school have an open door policy? Can parents visit at any time, or are there set days for observation?
- Safety. How does the school ensure student safety? How do they keep track of pickups at the end of the day?
- Philosophy. More brain development occurs in the first five years of life than at any point thereafter. Educators have different views and approaches, even as early as the preschool years. Some schools are completely “play based,” others have kids as young as three or four tracing numbers and letters to prepare them for kindergarten. It all comes down to learning style.
So I will keep looking with all these good information in hand.
Have you found a preschool? Any more tips? What did you like most in your childs preschool?