Choosing a preschool for your little one can be a pleasant and exciting experience, especially if you have some guidance and support along the way! Below we offer some top tips that you should keep in mind when touring preschools so that you can be sure you are choosing the right program and community for your family.
1. Importance of student and teacher relationships.
Knowing for certain that your child is happy, safe, and cared for is the number one priority for almost every parent. To determine this, as you tour schools, ask yourself questions like:
- Do the children appear happily engaged in play and learning activities?
- Do teachers use positive language so each child feels known and valued?
- Are parents a welcomed part of the school community?
- Are classrooms well lit with natural light and filled with student-created work?
- Are toys and learning tools easily accessible to even the smallest learners?
- What is the student to teacher ratio in the classroom?
Children need to be surrounded by caring educators to ensure they receive the individualized attention that is needed in those early years. The best preschools will leave the children and parents with a feeling of warmth and care. Parents should know and trust that the school is an extension of the home with a true sense of safety, belonging, and community.
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2. Focus on social/emotional development and learning.
Setting the foundation for future learning should be a crucial part of any preschool program. Teachers can do this by intentionally teaching social/emotional skills, and prospective parents should take notice on how this is done at each school.
A quality preschool program will spend time teaching children self-regulation strategies, how to find their own voice, how to best express their emotions, and how to be a kind person.
3. A wide variety of different types of play and learning experiences in the daily schedule.
During your discussions and visits with various Preschool Admission personnel, it’s important to ask about the different types of classes that may be offered at the preschool. Will your child have opportunities to participate in music, art, physical education classes? How much free play and structured play is offered? Is there a chance for early exposure to foreign language?
The ideal preschool setting will provide your child with a wealth of different types of learning, including a healthy mix of indoor and outdoor play. Similarly, if you are considering enrolling your child in a faith-based preschool, look for a program which offers opportunities for your child to put their lessons into practice—for example, through community service opportunities.
Making the Best Decision For Your Family
As parents engaged in the process of selecting a preschool for your child, you are beginning a wonderful journey with your family. Taking the time to make the best decision for your child and your family will undoubtedly pay off, as your child’s first experience in preschool should be a joyous one!
At Trinity Episcopal School, we provide a loving, child-centered atmosphere that allows children as young as 15 months to learn and grow into caring and intellectually curious students. For more information, please download our free guide “25 Questions to Ask During a Preschool Tour” or speak with a member of our admissions faculty.