Picking the right preschool for your needs is one of the most important choices you’ll make as a parent. It can seem overwhelming with all of the choices hanging over you. It’s essential to pick the best preschool for your child’s needs. It’s a challenge to know what’s right, from price points and curriculum to the type of school and schedule. At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we offer tips on how to pick a preschool that is best for your child and your family.
Why Is Preschool Important?
Early childhood education increases a child’s development in every way. From cognitive skills to behavioral development, children never stop learning. Preschool is the basis of social skills where children learn to work together and motor skills where they learn the basics of holding a pencil and kicking a ball. Once preschoolers reach kindergarten, they’re ready to learn and grow as students with a solid educational and social base.
How Important Is Choosing The Right Preschool?
It’s important to choose the right preschool for your child because it helps establish the base of their educational journey. The things they experience in preschool will reflect how they think about school. Preschool is the place where many children learn basic social and academic skills. Choosing the right one for their needs is essential to their developmental growth. Children should feel safe and confident, so they’re ready to focus on learning and making friends. Choosing the right preschool helps children feel excited about walking into the doors each day.
Types of Preschools
There are many different types of preschools with varying approaches of learning. The most common types of preschools include:
- Montessori Preschool –Montessori schools promote a child-centered educational approach to education in mixed-aged settings. Students focus on sensory-motor activities instead of memorization.
- Reggio Emilia Preschool –Reggio-inspired schools focus on child-directed and initiated curriculum. It’s more about children learning in group settings and rooted in hands-on discovery.
- Waldorf Preschool –Waldorf schools are more about play than homework. They don’t deal with worksheets or any media, but they spend most of their time outside learning through social skills and group activities.
- Religious Preschool –Religious preschools welcome children from all religious backgrounds and don’t only focus on Christian curriculum. They incorporate religious messages about kindness and caring for others into the everyday learning environment.
Every School Should Include Specific Elements
One of the most important things to remember when choosing between preschools is that some elements should be the same. Children are naturally active and curious to learn new things. They need a curriculum base to build these learning opportunities. They need to include play and socializing to round out their preschool experience. Every preschool should focus on the core activities of drawing, playing, and singing to develop specific skills.
Are The Teachers Positive And Caring?
Children learn to trust relationships at an early age. When teachers are positive and caring, children can understand better and trust them fully with their emotions. Positive teachers give off good vibes, allowing children to feel safe as they learn. They never ignore children’s comments and always answer their questions. Children feed off of this energy for a positive experience.
Ensure There Is Ample Active Playtime
Little kids have a lot of energy and need to be as active as possible. It’s important they aren’t sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time. They should get ample outdoor time and enjoy stimulating activities. Students should be active contributors to the preschool classroom where they have roles and get to choose activities. Ask each preschool about their active time. Most will have times during the day when children go outside, play games inside, or have free time in the classroom.
Ask About Discipline Measures
Preschool-aged children are learning social skills and self-regulation. It’s important that they’re taught positive discipline measures. Teachers should enforce their discipline measures in the form of teaching and explaining instead of only providing consequences. Children are going to push their limits and have breakdowns. How do the school’s teachers handle this activity? Knowing children need to express frustration while learning social skills is essential for all teachers at any school.
It’s Okay To Ask A Million Questions
Preschool directors understand guardians often have many questions about their school. They simply want their best for their child. Ask questions that matter the most to you about the school and the teachers. Is your school accredited? What special programs can you offer my child? What is the daily schedule like in each classroom? You can learn about the different preschool options and get a feel for each school by asking a list of your own questions.
Meet The Leaders
The director, teachers, and other preschool leaders will give the school its feel. It’s important to meet with them and talk to them. It’s vital to be on a personal level since you’re going to leave your child in their care throughout the day. You want peace of mind knowing your child is safe and happy. You’ll get a feel of the vibe of the preschool by meeting with the leaders. They’ll give you insight into what each of them does to make the preschool unique and help the students feel valued.
Communication Policy Between School And Parents
Most parents want communication about how their child is doing daily. Some parents want to know what their child ate for lunch, if they took a nap, and if they have any behavioral issues during the day. It’s important to know how individual teachers communicate with families. Do they use an app? Do they send home a note? Do they email you throughout the day? Many schools have monthly newsletters and calendars to communicate with families. There is no right or wrong answer, but the school must communicate in a way that helps you feel more comfortable leaving your child in their hands.
Is The Classroom Fun?
Kids love to have fun. The perfect preschool should be one that is filled with fun and joy in its classrooms. Children learn through play, so they should be surrounded by things in the classroom that promote this vehicle of learning. This doesn’t mean the classroom should be a place where students run wild and free. It should be a place filled with new challenges and exciting activities designed to help children dig deeper in learning.
Trust Your Gut
The reality is that there is a preschool out there for every child’s needs. You’ll have a feeling which one is perfect for your family. You should tour different preschools, watch the teachers educate and have fun with the children, and decide if it’s the best place for your child. Ask yourself if you see your child growing in the program. Almost all the facilities will be clean, safe, and secure. The main differences will be in the curriculum and structure of the day. You should get a feeling as you tour and speak with the leaders if this preschool is the one for your child.
Contact Lionheart Children’s Academy
If you’re looking for a preschool where your child learns and grows in a positive environment, Lionheart Children’s Academy is the perfect fit for you. We offer an exemplary curriculum, summer field trips for our school aged children, before and after school care, and so much more for infants up to children 12 years of age. We focus on teaching your children while boosting their creativity, social skills, and curiosity. Our fully licensed early learning center is committed to helping children develop physical, language, cognitive, and emotional behaviors that will benefit them throughout the educational journey. Contact us today to learn more about our premier preschool and child care services.