As a mom, you know the importance of early education. So does the US government — in fact, there’s exciting talk of rolling out a free preschool program nationwide.
With that said, you still have a huge decision to make. If you Google “preschool neaf me,” there might be dozens or even hundreds of preschools in your area. How can you sift through the options and choose the best preschool for your child?
Here are four tips to help you find the best school for your kids.
1. Teacher Qualifications
Preschools don’t have the same strict regulations as standard K-12 schools.
Unfortunately, some preschools are little more than daycare centers. They’re run by people who (although they love kids) have no background in education. Even worse, they may pack in as many students as possible just to turn a profit.
Since you’re sending your child there to learn, you first need to ensure that the “teachers” are actual teachers. They should have a certificate or degree in early childhood education as well as up-to-date first aid training.
2. A Positive, Caring Environment
Not surprisingly, researchers have found that when teachers are caring and positive, the children become better learners with more advanced development.
A positive teacher is a nurturing one. They listen to their kids, respond to their questions, and don’t quickly dismiss their concerns.
When you visit a potential preschool, pay close attention to how the teachers interact with their students. Do they ask thought-provoking questions and encourage their students to talk? Do they engage their students with games, songs, and stories, or are they merely “lecturers?”
3. Class Size & Number of Staff
Ideally, a preschool class will have no more than 15 students to one teacher. If there’s an assistant, up to 20 students is acceptable. Any more than this and your child will likely not get the individual attention he or she deserves.
There’s also the question of safety and organization. If the teacher needs to take a child to the restroom or the first aid room, is there another responsible adult to supervise the class?
4. Overall Atmosphere
As you walk through the school, what kind of vibe do you get? Do the teachers and children look happy, relaxed, and engaged? Or is it a picture of boredom, disorganization, or even chaos?
At this stage in your child’s life, you want them to feel like they’re with family — not at a boarding school.
This is exactly what the staff at the Montessori School of Downtown in Clear Lake strive to achieve. Check them out for a great example of what to look for in a local preschool.
Find the Best Preschool for Your Child
Early education is vital for your child’s development, so choosing a local preschool is no small task. Use the tips above to guide your search for the best preschool in your area.
Childhood education is an important part of being a parent, but there’s so much more to learn. Keep browsing our site for more stellar advice for moms.