About 95% of a child’s brain is developed before the age of 6. In fact, between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary grows by 300% and they develop the capacity to create complex thoughts on their own, which is the foundation of everything they will learn for the rest of their lives.
Because children undergo so much mental development before their sixth birthday, it is a great time mold their minds to love learning and to give them the building blocks of a successful education. One great way to do this is by getting them involved in a preschool education. Studies show that children who get a preschool education go on to get higher test scores in school, and have even shown higher rates of achieving college degrees.
When you’re searching for preschool program to enroll your child in, the most important way to find one that isn’t just a day care center is to ask the right questions at the interview. Some great questions to make sure your child’s potential preschool is a good fit for your family include:
- What does a typical school day look like? Asking this will give you an idea of the type of structure the school offers. Is most of the day free play? Do they offer activities that help the children learn? Do they have any sort of routine?
- What teaching philosophy is used in the school? Most early education programs use a curriculum that follows an educational philosophy. Some approach play-based teaching, some use more educational structure, some preschool educations emphasize creativity and socialization. Make sure that the philosophy used by the school aligns with the preschool education you want your child to receive.
- How are children disciplined? Of course, your child is perfect and will never need to be disciplined, but in the unlikely event that a room full of 3-year-olds ever leads to misbehavior, how is it handled? It is important that the school’s way of handling poor behavior aligns with your parenting style.
- What is the teacher to child ratio? Having a smaller class size provides a higher quality education and has shown to help children develop better language skills, cooperative behavior, general knowledge and less hostility towards each other. The National Institute for Early Education Research suggests that there should be no more than twelve children for every adult, but ideally there should be only ten children per teacher or teacher’s aide.
- What accreditation does the school have? Unlike kindergarten through high school, preschools are not required to hold educational accreditation. Verify the school you are considering for your child is accredited by an educational association that ensures their quality of education. It is also a good idea to ask what credentials the school requires the teachers to hold.
Are you shopping for a preschool for your child? What is the most important quality in a preschool to you? Do you have any recommendations that we didn’t mention? Please leave us a comment with your input.