Choosing a Preschool: The Complete Guide for Parents

Choosing a Preschool

It’s time to rule the school! Yes, even if you’re just a toddler! 40% of three and four-year-olds were enrolled in school in 2020. Attending preschool can help your child make friends, learn how to be in a classroom, and develop essential skills. But you shouldn’t send your child to the first preschool you see. The process of choosing a preschool requires several steps, and you must be diligent with each one. 

What options for preschools are available for your child? How can you assess the quality of classes? What questions should you ask administrators, teachers, and parents? Answer these questions and you can set your child up for a successful education. Here is your quick guide.

Consider Different Philosophies of Education

Each preschool has its own philosophy. Montessori schools foster independence, encouraging children to learn based on their natural learning styles. If this sounds a little confusing, you should go to a Montessori class and have a look at what the curriculum is like. 

Waldorf schools are centered around creativity. Each school has the right to determine its own curriculum, so you need to look at a few Waldorf schools in your area to see which one is best for your child. 

Emilia schools teach children to solve problems through creative thinking and exploration. If you’re more interested in your child learning about different perspectives, you can send them to a Bank Street school. 

Many preschools are faith-based. They have a core curriculum similar to other schools, but they incorporate prayers and rituals like lighting candles.

See if your house of worship is running one. If it is not, you can talk to the head of your denomination about others in your area.

You should start visiting preschool websites right away. You should also read customer reviews on websites like Yelp that describe the services of different preschools in general.

Watch Classes

Once you’ve found a few preschools you like, you should visit them in person. Ask the school administrator if you can watch a class. If you can’t watch, you can volunteer, reading stories to the children or cleaning up after them. 

Take some notes of a few things. The adults in the room should be talking to the children at their level. They should address them by name, listen to their concerns, and encourage them. 

When a child behaves inappropriately, the teacher should not punish them. They should help them understand the consequences of their actions and give them new rules that they can follow. The child should learn how to express their frustration in words and share things with others without throwing tantrums.

Children should be active. It is okay if they sit for a few minutes to receive instruction, read a book, or take a break. But they should have plenty of time to exercise and move around the classroom. 

They should be involved in a wide range of activities for children. Besides exercise, they should make art, perform experiments, and talk to each other. 

The children should be learning, but they should also be having fun. Homework and tests are not appropriate for preschoolers, even if they are short.

You should also look at the staff. They should seem happy, and they should have benefits that support their lives outside of school, like paid time off.

Talk With School Administrators

Some school administrators have office hours during which you can meet with them to discuss the preschool. Others let you make phone calls, write emails, or visit seminars to learn more about the school. 

You should ask questions about the school’s philosophy, especially if it’s confusing to you. If you’re clear on the philosophy, ask about staff turnover and teacher performance.

A high turnover rate suggests that the school is not offering support for teachers. The administrator should offer a package of benefits and discuss a clear way of evaluating how the teachers are doing.

You can ask about the cost of services at the preschool. If your child has special needs, you may need to pay more than other parents. Write down the exact figures so you can start comparing preschool costs when you get home.

You should try talking to teachers when they are not busy. Ask them the questions you asked the administrators and see how their responses differ. Major differences suggest that the administrator may have lied about the school or that there is a disconnect between faculty members.

Talk to Parents

Some preschools have clubs where parents can talk to each other. Visit the club and talk to parents about their experiences with the preschool. 

Some parents may have gone to the preschool when they were kids. They may have sent their older children to the school as well. This is a good sign that the school is doing the right things. 

Ask them about how the school can improve things. It’s okay if the school needs to work on little things, but you shouldn’t have to worry about safety or communication with the faculty. 

Figure Out How to Start Choosing a Preschool

Choosing a preschool is more complicated than it seems. A school can have an unusual philosophy, and you need to do your research on it. 

Visiting classes is the best way to assess the quality of the school. Keep your eye out for how children are learning, playing, and behaving.

You should then talk to administrators and teachers and compare their responses together. Your final step is to visit the parents of current students and break down how the school is providing for them.

Keep developing your knowledge of preschool. Read more guides to preschool by browsing our website.