Are you a mom that is searching for the best preschool for your kid to attend next year? You might feel a mix of emotions including anxiety, worry, and joy. This is normal. This might even be the first time you will be separating from you child most of the day, if you spent the last few years as a stay-at-home mom.
I know you may have lots of questions about the process. In fact, it’s around this time when open houses are in full swing again. In this article, I discuss several things to think about when choosing the best preschool for your kid. After reading it through, prepare a list of questions to bring to the open houses, so you can get as much information as possible to make the best decision for you and your kid.
How To Choose The Best Preschool So Your Kid Will Thrive
There are different costs associated with preschool. Factors that affect the costs include location of the school and the schedule you will be choosing for your kid. The longer your kid will be at the preschool, the more likely you will be paying higher costs. Also, preschool costs will be more expensive in certain areas of the country. If you are looking for more affordable options, you can also consider a co-op preschool. In this environment, you will be involved in the classroom activities, as opposed to just dropping off and picking up your kid from school.
What is the average student-to-teacher ratio at the school? Think about your child’s temperament. Is she the type who may be a little more independent or require a little more attention? If she requires more attention, she may benefit from a classroom with a better student-to-teacher ratio.
After-school activities or daycare
Find out about any after-school activities or after-school daycare the school might have. This is particularly important if you work at a job that requires you to be present after your child finishes school. Some preschool programs end around noon, 1pm or 2pm. However, working parents might need to be at work until 5pm. If this is the case, it’s important to find out about any after-school daycare or activities for your kid.
What is the academic curriculum like? Is the school more play-based, academic-based, or a mix? There is no right or wrong answer when choosing the right academic program for your child. I know some kids who attended language immersion preschools where they learned two languages. I know other kids who attended preschools that are more play-based than academic-based. Talk to your spouse about the academic goals for your child. Another option is to attend several open houses to learn about the different academic programs. Once you have all this information, then you can sit down with your spouse to assess the different options.
The location of the preschool is another factor you want to consider for your child. Here are a few things to think about when considering the preschool location.
- Is it near your home or work location?
- What is traffic like going to and leaving the preschool?
- Does the environment feel safe? Do you feel comfortable leaving your kid there?
The school staff is a huge factor to consider when choosing the best preschool for your kid. When you meet the teacher, does she seem friendly and patient? Does she appear to like working with children? How was the interaction like between the teacher and your child? These are important questions to consider when choosing a school for your child.
What does a typical day look like for your kid at this preschool? How much play and academics are incorporated into the schedule? When do the kids take a nap? Also, look at the different schedules they offer. Some schools offer a Monday/Wednesday Friday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Other schedules are 5 days a week. What schedule will best fit for your child? Will the schedule work well with you and your spouse’s work hours?
Ask the school about their discipline policy and rules. How do they handle a child who throws a tantrum? Find out about how they discipline a child who hits another child. Do they have a philosophy that working on changing a child’s unacceptable behavior is a parent’s job, the school’s job, or both? Are their disciplinary policies consistent with your own beliefs around disciplining kids?
What are the school policies around potty training? Most preschools require kids to be potty trained by the time they enroll in school. However, there are some preschools that are flexible and will allow kids that are not potty-trained. I know about a few preschools that accept kids that are not potty trained, but will charge extra fees.
An important factor to consider is whether or not the preschool requires you to have an enrollment contract. There may be some preschools you visit that require you to pay monthly fees for a set period of time. If you break that contract, you may have termination fees to pay or may be obligated to continue paying fees until the contract is up. If you and your family are not sure where you will be living next year, it would be a good idea to take this into consideration when choosing a preschool.
Perhaps, the most important thing to consider when picking the best preschool is making sure you and your kid are comfortable with the staff and school environment. Your kid will want to feel safe in this new place she will be spending a lot of time at. The school might have a passing grade for all the tips I talked about, but if you and your kid are not comfortable with the preschool, then nothing else matters.
When it comes to picking the best preschool for your kid, there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s important to ask a lot of questions at the open houses you attend, so you can have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
You may also like: