Choosing The Right Preschool Program For Your Child
If you are getting ready to put your little one into a preschool program, you may find yourself unsure and confused by all the information out there. Choosing the right program for your child is hard, but it is important to take the time to sort through that information and find a good fit. You need to be sure that the preschool your child attends meets your needs and aligns with your beliefs and teaching styles.
Make A List of Priorities
The best way to start this process is to make a list of priorities that are important to you. If the distance from home, price, and hours are important, put them on the list. Not every decision is about the school's program, though there will be a big part of it that is. Take the time to write it all down, discuss it with your spouse or partner, and then prioritize each point and see what comes up as the most important points from first to last.
Consider Teaching Philosophy
There are many different teaching methods or philosophies out there. You need to look at what the schools you are considering are using. Montessori schools tend to focus on the individual child. Waldorf schools foster creativity in their teaching. High/Scope schools focus on personal goals for each child. Bank Street schools are more child-centered programs. And lastly, Reggio Emilia schools are interested in the child's natural development. You will need to decide what it the best fit for your child and concentrate on a program and school that meets that need.
Scheduling A School Visit
Once you have started considering schools, you will want to schedule a time to go to the school and visit. It is a great way to see the school in operation, get a feel for the environment, and see if your child likes the school. Not every school is going to be a perfect fit, so don't be disappointed if the first one you visit is not the right one for you. It is a process, and it could take the time to find a program that has all the things you want, the right philosophy, and the right feeling for you and your child.
Don't be afraid to ask questions about the program when you visit. Anything that is on your mind is okay to ask about. If you have a picky eater, asking about meals might be the most important thing to you. Maybe you are more concerned about the teachers and the screening process they go through before they are hired. Or if you are looking for a religion-based program, your questions might be related to that. Take the time and ask the questions, and if the answers are not what you want them to be, keep looking. At the end of the day, the school needs to be right for you and your child. If it isn't, there is no shame in walking away and looking elsewhere.