Sending your little one off to preschool is a major step in his or her life, so you'll want to be as prepared as possible. When choosing the perfect preschool program for your young one, there are several questions you should ask yourself, and eventually your top picks, before making a decision.
Of course, word-of-mouth recommendations from family members and friends matter when deciding on a preschool, but you'll also want to make sure it is the right fit for your family, and most importantly, your child. It's easy to get overwhelmed when comparing different programs, but making a list of what matters to you the most will make the task easier.
Here are some things to consider when choosing the best preschool programs:
1. The School's Educational Philosophy
When choosing between a few top preschool picks, focus on what their educational philosophies are. For instance, consider whether you prefer a curriculum that is more structured and traditional, or if you want one that is more discovery-based for your youngster.
Take the time to speak to the program directors to narrow down their curriculum styles and to get a feel for what the children's daily routines are like. You can inquire about how much time the children spend outdoors, whether or not there are story and nap times, and what type of artistic activities they partake in to hone their creativity.
2. Potty Training Requirement
Some preschools require that children above a certain age be fully potty trained. If your child isn't yet, it's important to know the school's rules and regulations regarding the issues prior to enrollment.
3. Meals and Snacks Policy
If it's important to you that healthy meals and snacks are provided by the preschool on a daily basis, ask about that policy as well. Some busy parents prefer not to have to pack their child's food everyday, and feel assured that balanced, nutritious meals are being offered at the school.
4. Hours of Operation, Tuition and Location
When you're stuck between several preschool programs that meet you and your child's needs, you can use logistics as the determining factors. If you have to commute to and from work each day, choose a school that is either near your home or on your daily route for to save time and stress.
Other important factors to consider is the program's yearly tuition and the school's hours of operation, especially if your child will require before- or after-care.