The time for schooling often causes many headaches to parents, just like the time when you were choosing the best doctor for your child. Time will be poured into scouring the Internet for tips and energy will be spent on sieving through the countless options ranging from preschool to kindergarten to childcare courses available.
Just by the very fact that the first school your child attends might set the tone for his or her learning experience, you will pore through books, go online and speak to friends, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to sourcing information. Indeed, preschool is a crucial time for a child’s growth as it equips children with learning skills, vital for their educational future.
Selecting a Preschool or Kindergarten
While parenting magazines may offer some great insights to the selection process, speaking to fellow parents living in your community can give you a better idea of what’s available in your area. Reaching out to those with older children might be your best bet, given that this situation is no stranger to them, they have been there, done that, and will more likely to give you recommendations on where to look or avoid. If your child attends a day care program, consult their caregivers since they would be familiar with your child’s habits and character.
After you have your list of preschools formulated, here are a few things to consider to further narrow down your options. Firstly, deliberate if the school’s philosophy resonates with you. There are countless different methodologies that govern various preschools and kindergartens such as The Montessori Method, The Waldorf Approach and The Bank Street Approach, just to name a few. Therefore, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with these terms lest you settle for a school that isn’t the most ideal for your child’s development.
Secondly, go through the school’s website and decide for yourself if you are comfortable with the type of setting the school has. From child-centered to teacher-led to faith based, there are innumerable kinds of schools catered to people from all walks of life. Hence, knowing what aligns with your beliefs can save you a lot of time whittling down the list.
Next, take a look at the accreditation of the school. Any credible school will have the stamp of approval not only from its clients but also from local governing authorities. Ensure qualified people are in abundance, there are many certificates available including a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. On top of that, seek out the teacher-student ratio and the staff turnover rate. When it comes to preschools or kindergartens, children of that age require more attention than older ones. Therefore, a small class size and a committed teacher are what you want to look out for to ensure that your child gets the best out of his or her first years of education.
Another factor to take note of is the location of the school and any other extra services it provides. Be it near your home or workplace, you don’t want to end up sending your child to a school that is too far from you lest picking them up in case of any emergencies becomes tricky. However, if that particular school you really like isn’t exactly round the corner, consider if they offer any before/after school day care services.
Once you have homed in on a few choices, it is time to set up a visit to these schools and ideally, bring your child along. While there, observe how your child responds to the environment and if possible, the teachers there. Was your child captivated by the lessons and activities? Did he or she seem interested in wanting to join in? Monitoring your child on this visit can allow you to better understand if this school’s a good fit for your little one.
Finally, the truth of the matter is – No matter what your research outcome may be, you should trust your parental instincts. Nobody knows your child better than you do and perhaps consider the kind of learning experience you enjoyed best when you were a child. With this in mind, take a look at the various schools you’ve selected for your tot and consider if you were younger whether you would enjoy it there.
At the end of the day, a parent still knows best.