Every parent wants to prepare their children to lead successful and fulfilling lives. One consideration that many parents have in order to give their kids the best odds is whether or not to send them to preschool. Studies show that children who participate in early education have better test scores in school and even have higher rates of achieving college degrees than those who do not.
If you are planning to enroll your child in an early education program, there might be several preschools that you are considering. If you are having a hard time deciding the best preschool for your child, try asking the following questions while interviewing potential schools to get a clearer picture of which school is the best fit for your child:
- What credentials do the school and the teachers possess? While public schools have accreditation requirements, most preschools are privately run and have less regulations. All private preschools are required to be licensed, however this usually ensures the health and safety of the children, not the quality of the education. Ask if the school is accredited by any national preschool accreditation programs and if there are any credentials required of the teachers. While preschool teachers are not required to have a bachelors degree, some private schools have educational requirements that give them more preparation.
- Does the school meet your family’s needs? Putting your child in preschool is a big commitment for the whole family. Some preschools offer flexibility to accomodate your work schedule or lifestyle. Some preschools have high tuition while others offer scholarships for qualifying families. Also consider how convenient it is to get to, you’ll be making that commute often.
- How is misbehavior disciplined? Difficult behavior is expected of children under the age of 5. Make sure the school’s way of handling misbehavior aligns with your parenting philosophy. How do they intervene in disputes between children? Do they utilize time-outs or another method? Do they communicate with parents when disciplinary action is taken?
- What expectations does the school have of parental involvement? Some parents want to volunteer at their child’s school and participate in their early education. If you are one of those parents, make sure your school has an open door policy for parental visits during the school day. Conversely, since preschools are not publicly funded, some schools want the parents to fund raise on their behalf. Make sure you are equipped to meet such requirements.
- Do they offer progress reports, regular feedback and make communication accessible? Most parents want to know how their child is doing in school. Many schools offer one or two formal parent/teacher conferences. Some schools give parents regular progress reports that update what the child is learning and the key developmental indicators (KDIs) that evaluate their emotional and social development. Make sure you approve of the school’s report card practices.
It’s also a good idea to ask about established channels of communication. If you have a question or concern, can you send an email that will be promptly responded to? Although you will see the teachers at drop-offs and pick-ups, its unlikely that you will get to speak about anything in-depth while they take care of 20 other 3-year-olds.
Does your child attend preschool? What factors were important to you while you were reviewing schools? Please leave a comment with your input!