Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. children are enrolled in some type of organized child care arrangement, like preschool or daycare. But choosing the right preschool program for your child isn’t always easy. With so many preschool options to choose from — and so much pressure for children to succeed from an early age — you might feel overwhelmed just thinking about enrolling your child in their preschool class. And when you’re under stress or in a rush to make a decision, you might be inclined to make a mistake.
The reality is that, while there are a number of high-quality preschool programs in your area, they aren’t all created equal. There are pros and cons to evaluate and differences to take note of before making a final choice. And by avoiding the biggest mistakes, parents can ensure that their preschoolers have a positive experience in the classroom. To help you prevent those pitfalls, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Don’t Choose a Preschool Program Based on Reputation Alone
Certainly, it’s essential to gather personal recommendations from friends and family when choosing a school for your child. It’s also a good idea to look at reviews online and learn more about how a community feels about a given facility.
However, you’ll need to remember that reputation isn’t everything. Just because a school is well-regarded doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for your family. Ultimately, choosing a preschool is highly personal.
One child might thrive in a certain environment, but another may find it to be a poor fit. What’s more, a school’s reputation might be swayed by hidden factors. An unofficial ranking may be a good starting point, but you’ll want to consider far more than marketing and reviews when making this decision.
Consider More Than Just Academics When Evaluating Local Preschools
Just as you should factor in more than mere reputation, you should also make sure not to base this decision on academics. Although it’s common for parents to focus on classroom learning, keep in mind that your child’s physical, emotional, and social growth will be impacted by more than academic subjects.
Preschool classrooms that offer a good balance between traditional academics and play-based learning may be a better choice for many children. This can provide a more well-rounded education and foster a healthy environment wherein your child can grow in every way.
Be Sure to Ask Questions Before Enrolling Preschool Students
You shouldn’t select a preschool without taking a tour and meeting the staff members. This gives you a chance to evaluate the safety and security of the building, observe a typical day in a classroom, and discuss any concerns with teachers or administrators there.
Take this opportunity to come prepared with questions about the curriculum, the school’s central message, and the routine your child will experience. You may also want to ask about scheduling (especially if your family is looking for a more flexible arrangement), address concerns about separation anxiety, or find out when you might be able to bring your child with you for a visit.
By doing your homework and coming in prepared, you’ll be able to obtain information you might otherwise have found out much later in the process.
The perfect, one-size-fits-all preschool program might not exist — but there is a preschool that’s right for your little one and for your family. If you keep these tips in mind, you can avoid rushing into a decision and instead choose the preschool facility that will allow your child to flourish. For more information, please contact us today.