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The year for preschool and what to look for

preschoolpreschool
preschoolpreschool

The year for preschool and what to look for

To some parents, the year for preschool is welcomed with opened arms despite the reluctant and screaming child. Then again, there is the opposite where your giddy three-year-old runs into the building as soon as you let their little feet touch the ground and you’re left holding back tears of pretty much every emotion in the book.

But finding the right preschool is important and it’s not always about finding the one with the best reputation and highest fees, it’s about finding the one that feels like the right fit for your child.

 

Signs that it’s time

Before we start discussing what you need to look for, we need to get you to acknowledge that your little baby is growing up and off to preschool. Signs that it’s time for your child to go to preschool include their ability to communicate passed “mama”, “dada” and “tata”. When they can tell you (not always in so many words) that they’re hungry or need the toilet, for example, they are ready to be placed under the care of someone else.

Other signs are their outbursts of independence, ability to listen and follow instructions, when they’re okay to be away from mommy or daddy and have enough energy to carry them through a day of school.

It’s time to face the facts, your child is ready for preschool.

 

Education

Preschool is all fun and games, but it’s meant to be educational fun and games… for the most part anyway. When looking at preschool, it’s important to meet and kindly query the teachers and staff who are present. Teaching experience is important during this phase of development and the preschool you choose should have some sort of educational philosophy or mission statement.

You need to know if there is a curricular structure to the time your child will be spending there and if the baby students’ best interests are taken into consideration. If your main concern isn’t education at this point, then you should rather be looking into daycare options.

 

First aid

While you’re checking out staff credentials, find out whether all the teachers and staff have first-aid training. It should be a prerequisite for most educational establishments and institutions working with children, so you’re more than allowed to ask.

You need to know that your child, in the case of an emergency, can be taken care of until you get there or are able to reach a hospital should that be necessary.

 

Physical activity

Playtime is great for toddlers and even better if playtime is outside. When you go and visit the preschool (which is something you can and should do), take a look at their playgrounds and see how, and if, they accommodate for different age groups. Take note of the size of the playground jungle gyms and ask if they are supervised during playtime and what other outdoor activities there are for kids to do and toys to play with.

Physical activity is an important element for children of all ages as it aids in their muscle development, strength, coordination and balance. In other words, you want your child’s preschool to accommodate that.

 

Discipline

Discipline can be a sensitive topic and many parents have their own methods that work in their household. Ask potential preschools what their disciplinary process is and whether it’s just a time-out or if there are other methods you’re maybe not comfortable with.

It may even be a case of their methods not being strict enough and you share with the teachers what the standard is at home so that the child doesn’t get away with being naughty in class.

 

Requirements

When you start applying at different preschools, you’ll find that some preschools have requirements regarding their applicants.

Compare the requirements with your child’s abilities and that should help you find a place that can accommodate your child’s needs and the level they’re on. For example, some places will require potty training and others may not allow nap time sessions, in which case your child would be required to have the stamina for a full day of activities at school.

 

Class size

Another aspect of preschools that may affect where you end up sending your child is the size of the classes. More so, the size of the class in relation to the number of teachers available. Smaller classes will allow more one-on-one opportunities and larger classes supported by two or more teachers and assistants will provide more social interactions for your child. So, class size is something that will depend on the individual child’s personality and how they cope with smaller or bigger groups.

At the end of the day you will have a gut feeling towards the preschool that’s right for your child and if they check all your requirements (and you check all of theirs), it’s time to buy a super cute backpack and send your child to school.

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