Figuring out which preschool your child should go to can be a big job. The importance of early childhood education is regularly underestimated by parents. It’s looked at an optional part of their overall learning experience. However, even one full year preschool schedule showed an immense jump in learning growth and ability to fall into the a regular school pattern effectively once children started elementary school. The best preschools understand that parents are looking for something more than what they can do at home with their little ones. Researching preschools is a big deal and early education should not be optional. Here are a few things that you should look for when researching preschools.
- Teacher/Student Interaction
It takes a special person to be a preschool teacher. There needs to be an immense amount of patience, kindness and love. This age group of children are so sensitive to the attention and love they are receiving from the adults that they trust. Teachers should show physically signs of attention such as crouching down to the size of the child when talking to them or even sitting on the floor with them to play. A child should feel completely comfortable with running up to a teacher and asking them to play with a particular toy together. If the child is afraid of or intimidated by a teacher, then there is something wrong with the teacher and not the child.
- Teacher/Parent Communication
Something else that you should look for when researching preschools is how the teacher communicates with you as the parent. They should be able to explain the reason why each child is doing a certain activity and how it will affect their learning curve and how it helps them. There should be a constant conversation about how your child is doing. They should know your child enough to be able to recognize strengths and weaknesses and be able to talk to you about effective strategies to overcome challenges that may occur. Keeping a good parent/teacher relationship is crucial to the peace of mind parents need when leaving their children out of their sight for a long period of time. Reports and status updates should constantly be coming in.
- Safe Environment
When you walk into a preschool, you should notice round tables, rounded corners on bookshelves and other furniture. You should also see that you can view the entire room from one vantage point. This is so that the teacher can see everything going on. If that is not the case, then there should always be teachers in every area that is sectioned off. Many preschools do section off areas so that they can employ the ‘centers method’ where children rotate through different learning centers throughout the day. However, if the preschool does use this method, they need to make sure that the children can be overseen by an adult at all times.
- Established Rules
Believe it or not, children thrive in an establishment where rules are enforced. There was a study done where children were placed in a playground with no fence and then with a fence. When they had no fence, they tended to congregate towards the middle of the play ground and not venture very far. However, when there was a fence, they felt free to explore and would go right up to the fence. This is because they knew where the boundaries were. When children have physical, emotional, social and academic boundaries, they feel the freedom to move around in those boundaries and really express themselves and find out what their limitations are in a safe environment.
- Good Reputation
There is no better way to find a good place than by word of mouth. When you are researching preschools, if you know someone who has children that are preschool age, you can always ask them what they think of their preschool and how they like it. Otherwise, look for a school that has a good reputation and high quality reviews. You can ask the school for references. If they are hesitant to give you them or say they don’t have any, then this is a good indication that you should keep searching.
Making sure your little ones are taken care of and are learning every day is so important as a parent.