Before you go in search of a preschool there is a need to prepare yourself. First consider the basics like location [near home or workplace], timings, and your eligibility for a subsidized preschool program. It will help to narrow your list. This will make your background research and comparing the listed preschools easily.
Know the common terms
Preschool educational philosophies are multiple. Knowing these terms help to choose a suitable preschool.
- The Montessori Method – Maintains every child’s individuality like learning at their own pace. The educational progress must not be based on comparing the students.
- The Waldorf approach – Students get an opportunity to explore their imagination through participation, senses, and analytical thinking.
- Regio Emilia tactic – Offers a chance to resolve their problems via exploration and creative thinking.
- Bank Street methodology – Focuses on learning via different perspectives associated with the natural world and classroom environment.
- The scope or high approach – The kids are allowed to plan their own learning every day and take part in a review session for discussing plan success.
Know the preschool settings
- Child-centered – While planning activities the child’s interest is considered. It allows children to choose their own activities based on their interests.
- Teacher-led – The opposite of a child-centered setting. Children get nurtured in a controlled learning environment.
- Child-led – Children learn best when they initiate new activities, they are interested in. It fosters a customized learning experience.
- Faith-based – Faith organizations like churches run the preschool programs based on religious philosophies.
- Co-operative – Families and parents help or volunteer to run the preschool.
- Developmentally appropriate – The activities and curriculum get planned based on the child’s age.
- Pre-K or Pre-kindergarten – Children at age 4 gets enrolled in a pre-K program. It is more organized than the traditional preschool environment.
Tennesseans need to check the Tennessee education system on tqee.org/policy-blueprint/.
After the list gets narrowed with the kind of educational philosophy and settings you desire for your little one, it is time to do some research and narrow the options.
- Ask your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, etc. who are parents and have experience with preschools. Their advice and insight will be helpful.
- Go online to learn about the local preschool networking community. Check for complaints or health & safety violations of the potential preschool on the internet.
The preschool tour
After narrowing the list to 3 to 4 options, you need to give the preschools a tour. Your first preschool tour will be without your child. It allows you to concentrate on what occurs around and ask questions. While walking across the school, keep the following factors in mind.
- How teachers care and interact with the children?
- Does the staff listen to students?
- What kind of training did the staff receive?
- What is their emergency plan?
- Is the playground safe?
- Is there sufficient room in the classroom for kids to move around?
- Are the classroom walls decorated with student’s artwork, pictures, and creations?
- How does the school communicate with parents?
- How do the teachers teach students conflict resolution with their peers?
- How much time do the kids get to play indoors & outdoors?
- Are their teaching plans based on age groups?
Go prepared to make the preschool choosing process meaningful and effective for both the parent and the child.