Are you researching preschools for your child? Studies show a direct link between early education and development that makes a case for early education importance. Children who have a solid foundation of early childhood education often go on to achieve better test scores throughout grade school, and even have a higher college graduation rate!
Given the importance of preschool on a child’s entire educational career, taking your time while researching preschools and finding the best fit for your child and family is important. For this reason, check out our list of things to consider while researching preschools.
Five Things to Consider While Researching Preschools
- Religious Affiliation
Many, many private preschools have a religious affiliation. If your family is religious, it’s important to find a school that teaches values that align with what you are teaching your kids at home. If your family is not religious, putting them in a preschool with a religious affiliation can still be very successful. You just want to look into how the ideals of the religion are presented to the children, and that the school is respectful about students who do not subscribe to the same belief system.
Some preschools present their curriculum following the Montessori method. Some preschools use the Waldorf method. Some preschools (particularly public preschools) use the common core method that you’ve probably heard about in the news. Some schools subscribe to child-led learning, where the kids are encouraged to participate in whatever learning activities interest them. There is not a right or wrong answer in this subject, what matters is the character of your child, and what they engage best with.
While researching preschools, consider what makes your child most excited to learn, and find a school that has a curriculum that aligns with it.
- Discipline Methodology
In an ideal world, preschool students would all behave a hundred percent of the time, and discipline would never be necessary. However, when you get 20 or 30 children who are under the age of five in a single room, chaos is bound to occur every now and then. If handled appropriately, discipline is a wonderful way for a child to learn how to talk about their problems and resolve conflict. Some schools use a “thinking chair” to give children a chance to reflect on their actions and how to handle it better in the future. Some schools use opportunities like this to help the children open discussions about how their actions made other people feel. Some schools take more aggressive approaches.
Before choosing a school, make sure you ask the administrators about how disciplinary actions are carried and, and make sure you are comfortable with the way it is handled.
- Student to Teacher Ratio
The number of students that each teacher is responsible for has a huge impact on how much individual attention each child gets. Particularly if your child has a meek nature, if there are too many kids per teacher, they are prone to fall between the cracks and get overlooked. The lower the student to teacher ratio, the more likely each student will get the individual attention they need. The national standard for student to teacher ratios is 10 kids per adult, but many schools have even lower ration requirements than that. Make sure you ask about this statistic while considering schools.
- Parent Involvement
The best educations come through a partnership of the teacher and the parent. A good preschool will have a regular method of communication with the parents, through newsletters, e-mail, and parent-teacher conferences. If you have the availability to do so, your child might really benefit from you volunteering at their school with them. In order to be active in your child’s preschool experience, you want to make sure that their preschool is setup to promote parent involvement. Make sure that you check on this factor before signing your child up for a preschool.
Preschool is the cornerstone of a great educational foundation for many children. In order to get the most out of your child’s preschool experience, you want to make sure that you consider the religious affiliation, the curriculum, the disciplinary methods, the student to teacher ratio, and the opportunity for parental involvement of the school, and find one that best aligns with your child’s nature.