When you are looking for a preschool for your child, there are four things to consider.
- The school should be a safe place.
- Your child should be respected.
- There should be experiences that will enrich your child's mind.
- Your child should have positive experiences interacting with other children.
Safety — When you visit preschools in your area, find out what the plan is in regard to keeping strangers away. Find out if there are fire drills and if there are fire extinguishers in strategic places. Ask if every single employee of the school has had an extensive background check. In addition, find out what actions are taken if your child gets hurt. Determine how bullying is handled.
Respect — Make arrangements to visit a preschool class in session. The caregiver should be calling the children by name when addressing them. If correction is needed it should be done in a firm and gentle way. In addition, determine whether the caregivers show patience and understanding for each child in the room.
Enrichment — The caregivers should be preparing your child to enter kindergarten. Find out if there are plenty of age-appropriate toys for the children to play with. Also, determine if your child will be read to and if they will be taught early reading skills. Make sure there are things like clay and finger-paints for your child to express themselves through art. See if music is used to teach things like numbers and the seasons of the year.
Interaction — Of course, part of the reason you are sending your child to a preschool is probably for them to have other friends to play with. In addition, you want your child to learn classroom etiquette that will prepare them for kindergarten. The caregivers will be reminding all of the children that it's important to take turns, to share, and to be respectful to each other.
Think about starting your child in preschool only two or three mornings a week. At first, your child might be very unhappy about being away from you. The caregivers will have the experience to handle that type of situation. Even though it might be difficult for you, try not to be emotional when you say goodbye.
As time goes by, your child might be very willing to go to preschool every single day of the week. When the time is right, consider letting your child stay at preschool in the afternoon, too.
For more information, contact a preschool like Small World Early Learning & Development Center.