4 Tips for Choosing the Right Preschool for Your Kids

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More and more parents are sending their kids to preschool programs than ever before. In 2012, the percentages of three and four year old children was 41% and 66%. This was up from 33% and 56% as recorded in 1990. Every day, at least five million children attend some kind of preschool or prekindergarten program in the United States. If you are interested in sending your child or children to a prekindergarten program, you may be looking at how people go about choosing the best preschool.

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Preschool:

  1. Learn the vernacular. Like many things in life, choosing the best preschool includes learning a whole new set of terms. Do you know the difference between the “Montessori approach” and the “Waldorf approach”? What does it mean to enroll in a “child-centered” vs. “faith based” school? Does the preschool share your “educational philosophy”? These are all terms that will be used a lot as you look at different schools and programs. You will save yourself a lot of time and embarrassment by learning the terms before you visit the schools. It might narrow down your list early as you discover you like or dislike certain approaches or focuses.
  2. Think about your basic needs in a preschool program. Does the distance from your home matter the most to you or is it more important that it be closer to your work? What kind of childcare services do you need in addition to the school program? You might also want to look into what subsidized programs your family can qualify for. A number of cities and towns have funding for preschool programs. Do you prefer a public or private preschool? Private schools make up almost 24% of all schools with prekindergarten to 12th grade classes and account for 10% of all preschool programs.
  3. What do you know about the schools in your city? Talk to your friends and relatives about the schools in your area. If you can, get personal referrals and recommendations. If you know people with kids who are around the same age or older than yours, ask them about their experiences with the area schools. People like to get and give personal recommendations. You can also look to Facebook and other online resources to get more information. Other parents understand the process and how stressful it can be finding a good preschool. Most people like being helpful when it comes to these sorts of things. Also, ask the different schools if they have parents who would be willing to talk to you about their experiences with the facility. They may have testimonials on their website as well.
  4. Visit the schools you like. Take time to walk around the school and have a list of questions ready to ask the staff. Make it a point to ask the different schools and staffs the same questions so you can objectively judge their responses. If you see other parents or others dropping and picking up kids at the school, ask them what they think about the place. Do the kids seem happy there? How do you feel there? Are the staff happy? Are they willing to take the time to show you around and answer your questions? If they do not have the time to answer your questions before you send your kids there, you cannot expect them to take the time once your children are enrolled.

Choosing the best preschool does not have to be a torturous experience but it is important that you feel comfortable with your choice. There are a lot of great benefits of preschool programs. They can help get children started on the path to great educational success. They can also help them make new friends. The school you pick should be a place for them to learn and have fun. This is a place where you should feel comfortable leaving your children. Trust your instincts. If you have questions about anything, ask them. If you follow your gut and do all of your research, you will feel much better about the school you pick for your children.

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