How To Choose the Perfect Preschool for Your Child

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The time has come for your child to join preschool. As a parent, you want to enroll them in the perfect learning center in your area. But do you know what a perfect preschool has and how to find one? 

A perfect preschool has everything required to support high-quality early education. This includes experienced teachers, enriching student activities, and a focus on children’s health and safety. It’s worth noting quality preschool education offers benefits beyond ABC and counting. It supports the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development of preschoolers, setting them up for success in life. 

Now that we’ve reviewed what a perfect preschool looks like, let’s focus on how to choose one for your child.

Step 1: List Your Priorities

Maybe you want a preschool that teaches children problem-solving skills so they can overcome the challenges of learning science, math, or language in higher grades. Or perhaps you want a school that focuses more on nurturing creativity. Whatever your priorities are, write them down. 

1. Child’s Unique Learning Needs

For instance, let’s say your child learns best through play and hands-on activities. They might fit into a preschool that focuses on play-based learning that encourages children to explore and learn more at their own pace. If your child grasps concepts quickly through traditional academic structure, you’ll likely be searching for a school that follows the traditional teacher-led method.

2. Proximity

Like many parents, you most likely want a preschool near your home and office. A shorter commute is often easier for both parents and children. Sometimes, life gets in the way of our plans, so if your daycare center has several locations, you’ll probably consider that a win. That way, if you have to move, there’s a slightly higher chance your little one can attend a preschool that has a structure familiar to them. 

Along with proximity, parking availability can be key. Particularly in busy cities like Chicago, a stress-free parking situation might be the cherry on top. 

3. Preschool Fees

Money is a crucial aspect that can affect how you choose the perfect preschool for your child. So, it makes sense to create a budget in advance so you know what you can and cannot afford. 

Be upfront about your budgeting concerns during your in-person or virtual tour. Asking about cost-saving measures like discounts for added siblings and included meals to help make the most of the tuition costs.  

Step 2: Do Your Research

1. Ask Around for a Preschool With an Outstanding Reputation 

You can’t ignore the power of personal references. Friends and family will likely tell you what they like and dislike about preschools in your area. They’ll share the preschool’s details, such as the teaching approach, costs, and communication style, to help you make informed decisions. So, ask them for recommendations. 

2. Go Online

Doing your own research online helps you gather detailed information about preschools. You’ll know if the preschool you want to enroll your child in is credible or accredited. You’ll learn more about their mission, curriculum, and communication policy. 

Most importantly, read testimonials shared by other parents. What other families say about a preschool could influence your choice. Check for positive reviews for safety, enriching activities, nutrition, and parent/school communication. 

Step 3: Visit Preschools and Ask Questions

Take some time to visit each preschool on your wishlist and inquire into:

1. The Curriculum

Before enrolling your child in preschool, ask about the curriculum. Besides academics, are the school’s teaching philosophies designed to help children develop their emotional, social, and cognitive skills? Is the curriculum fit for your child’s age and stage of development? 

For example, LadyBug Friends Daycare and Preschool states that when children enter preschool age, they develop a more nuanced understanding of the world around them. They become more assertive and inclined towards taking initiative and forming genuine friendships. Curriculums that foster this emerging sense of self can help preschoolers as they follow their unique developmental paths. 

2. Teacher-Student Ratio

The number of teachers compared to students in the classroom matters. Ideally, a lower teacher-to-child ratio translates to personalized attention. This means teachers can be more responsive to each child, providing enough support for their development and learning. 

When discussing this aspect, ask about the teachers’ credentials. See if they have the qualifications to provide quality education and care to young learners. 

3. School’s Discipline Approach

Some preschools follow a traditional, authoritarian method to discipline children. Others impose a more nurturing, positive method, which involves teachers being role models for students. There’s no right and wrong answer on matters of discipline. What’s important is to understand each school’s discipline policy to see if it aligns with your parenting style. 

4. Health and Safety Policies

If you’re worried about safety and health when you drop your kids off at school, to help you relax, review how schools manage food allergies and maintain food safety. Does the school follow a food allergen plan while providing nutrition-focused meals? Does the staff follow safety guidelines like wearing plastic gloves while preparing and serving meals?

See if the school has policies on immunization, emergencies, and accidents. Check the qualification and training of staff responsible for health and safety. Glance at the facility to ensure it follows standard hygiene policies. 

The Perfect Preschool for Your Child — Found!

Choosing a preschool leaves you with many options, and you can narrow down your options and choose the perfect one in simple steps. First, evaluate your priorities, which could revolve around the school’s curriculum, location, and program fees. 

Next, research learning centers with an outstanding reputation and visit those you think are a perfect fit for your child. While visiting schools, ask about curriculum, health and safety policies, and discipline approaches. 

With diligence and optimism, finding the perfect fit for your child is on the horizon. Exciting opportunities and life-long learning lie ahead!

Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.

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