Finding the right preschool for your child is an important step in their development. Having a formal educational experience before entering elementary school contributes significantly to their cognitive development, social skills, and autonomy. Here are five essential considerations when deciding on your child’s early educational experience:
- Parenting Style – You have your own communication style you’ve developed with your child. Pick a setting in which the approach and attitudes of the staff are compatible with that style to convey behavioral expectations, express affection, and share information.
- Family and Community Principles – As a family, you may have certain cultural values or religious beliefs, as well as customs or traditions. Choose an environment where those values, beliefs, customs, and traditions are reflected or respected by children and staff.
- Relationships – Your relationship with your child is the most important one in your life. So look for a setting with similar positive relationships between children, between children and staff, between staff and families, between families, and among staff.
- Curriculum and Educational Philosophy – This includes the principles guiding the educational experiences planned and implemented by the staff, the structure of the day, professional development for staff, and classroom materials. Choose an environment with a curriculum built on research-based knowledge about child development and learning.
- Logistics – Select an environment that can accommodate your family’s basic needs when it comes to scheduling, transportation, location, and distance.
This article from NAEYC, “A Good Preschool for Your Child,” offers excellent information about how to identify programs with quality curriculum and relationships:
The article “Choosing a Preschool: Simple Tips for Parents” by Get Ready to Read (founded in 1977 by the National Center for Learning Disabilities) offers wonderful information about a variety of educational philosophies and what to look for during your visit: