Today, preschool for three and four year olds is no longer a nice option to give your child a learning edge. Preschool is essential for student success in kindergarten. Many of you who may have children starting kindergarten may be shocked to find out that they have rigorous objectives for you child. Today’s kinders are learning 25 basic sight words, reading books, writing in journals, and learning how to count change. In order to be able to accomplish these goals, your child should already have achieved mastery at several things by the end of preschool. So unless you plan on teaching them at home, a quality preschool is a must.
Here are some things to look for and remember while you shop.
Pay attention to the small details
Do the facilities look clean and well maintained? Is the staff friendly and informative? As you observe some of the classes, does it look like there is learning taking place? Do the teachers you observe look like they enjoy doing their jobs? Is there order and fun in the classes?
Look for a preschool that has some clearly stated learning goals for their threes, fours, and bridge program.
If a school has taken the time to write out learning objectives, then they probably have curriculum in place to meet those goals. If there are no learning goals, it is probably just a glorified play/art group and you are wasting your child’s time and your money.
Be aware of preschools who are just trying to market you and are not really teaching your child.
Unfortunately, private preschools need your money to keep operating. Sometimes it is tempting to obey the hand giving out the funds, instead of serving the child’s learning needs. Preschools who are just trying to please you, may not make a big deal out of excessive absences. They may also refrain from giving you periodic academic and behavior reports. This is a danger to your child. A good preschool will hold you accountable and not coddle you just to keep your dollars coming.
Don’t wait until it is too late.
Good preschools usually have a long waiting list. If you would like to guarantee a spot, you need to start looking BEFORE your child turns three.
Finding the perfect preschool will be worth the hassle and frustration when you know that your child will be prepared for kindergarten. A positive kindergarten year will pay dividends through out your child’s academic years.