Choosing the right preschool can feel like a daunting task for parents, but it’s also one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your child’s future. The preschool years are a crucial time for developing social skills, learning how to interact with other children, and exploring new ideas and activities. At the same time, your child will be forming lifelong habits and preferences that will shape their future.
With so much riding on the decision, it’s vital to do your research and ask the right questions when considering potential schools. To help you get started, here are 10 key questions to ask when choosing a preschool:
What is the school’s philosophy and educational approach?
When you’re looking for a preschool for your child, it’s important to ask about the philosophy and educational approach of the school. A school’s philosophy can give you insight into the values that the school espouses and how these values guide the educational approach.
For example, some schools may have a play-based philosophy, which means that they believe that learning should be primarily experiential and that play is an essential part of learning. Other schools may have a more traditional academic focus, emphasizing structured activities and rote learning. By asking about the school’s philosophy, you can get a better sense of whether it aligns with your educational values. Similarly, asking about the educational approach can help you understand how classroom time will be structured and what sorts of activities your child will be engaged in.
What is the teacher-to-student ratio?
The teacher-to-student ratio is an important consideration when choosing a preschool. A lower teacher-to-student ratio means that your child will receive more individualized attention and care. This can be especially important for children who are shy or have special needs.
Conversely, a higher teacher-to-student ratio may mean that your child will have more opportunities to interact with other children, which can be beneficial for social development.
When considering the teacher-to-student ratio, it’s also important to ask about the average class size. While the two concepts are related, they’re not necessarily the same. For example, a school may have a low teacher-to-student ratio but large class sizes. In this case, your child would still have the opportunity to interact with other children but would not necessarily receive as much individualized attention.
What is the staff turnover rate?
The staff turnover rate can be an important indicator of a school’s stability and quality. A high staff turnover rate may indicate that the working conditions at the school are poor or that the pay is low. It can also make it difficult for children to form attachments with their teachers and may lead to discontinuity in the educational program. Conversely, a low staff turnover rate suggests that teachers are happy with their work environment and that the school is able to retain high-quality employees. When considering a preschool, it’s important to ask about the staff turnover rate and to try to get a sense of the overall stability of the school.
What are the qualifications of the teachers?
When choosing a preschool, it’s important to inquire about the qualifications of the teachers. Ideally, you should look for teachers who have experience working with young children and have completed formal early childhood education training. In some cases, you may also want to look for teachers with specific expertise or certification in special needs education or language development. By asking about the qualifications of the teachers, you can get a sense of the level of expertise and care your child will receive.
What is the school’s approach to discipline?
The way that a preschool handles discipline can be an essential factor to consider when making your decision. Some schools have a more traditional approach to discipline, relying on methods such as timeouts or punishment. Other schools take a more developmental approach, helping children understand and regulate their emotions.
Still other schools take an authoritarian approach where teachers use their power to control children’s behavior. Whichever method you prefer, it’s important to ensure that the school you choose has a consistent and well-defined discipline policy. By asking about the school’s approach to discipline, you can get a sense of how they handle difficult situations and ensure that their methods align with your own parenting style.
What is the school’s curriculum like?
When choosing a preschool, it’s important to ask about the curriculum. What sorts of topics will be covered? How will learning be structured? What methods will be used? By asking about the curriculum, you can get a sense of the school’s educational philosophy and make sure that it aligns with your beliefs.
What are the school’s facilities like?
The quality of the school’s facilities can be an essential consideration when choosing a preschool. You should look for a clean and well-maintained facility with age-appropriate equipment. The outdoor play area should be safe and spacious, and there should be plenty of storage for things like strollers and car seats. Asking about the facilities will give you a better sense of the school’s commitment to providing a safe and comfortable environment for its students.
What are the school’s safety procedures?
Safety is always a top concern for parents, so it’s important to ask about the safety procedures at the preschool you’re considering. How are visitors screened? What are the procedures for drop-off and pick-up? What sort of emergency plans are in place?
What are the school’s policies on communication and involvement?
It’s important to ask about the school’s policies on communication and involvement. How often will you receive updates about your child’s progress? What sort of opportunities will you have to be involved in the school community? Doing so can help ensure that you’ll be kept in the loop about your child’s development and that you’ll have the opportunity to be as involved as you’d like.
What are the school’s tuition and fees?
Of course, cost is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a preschool. Ask about the school’s tuition and fees, as well as any additional costs such as for uniforms or field trips. Be sure to get a clear understanding of all the associated costs so that you can budget accordingly.
Choosing a preschool is a big decision. By asking the right questions, you can be confident that you’re making the best choice for your child.
At Akers Academy, the enrichment, safety and love of your children are the primary motivations in everything we do! From the time they are babies, through their Pre K years, our proven, early learning curriculum helps build a strong foundation of self-confidence and academic excellence for your child’s future.