5 Tips to Finding the Right Preschool for Your Family

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Early childhood education is a very important thing to help children’s development. The benefits of preschool are well known. It is important to find the right facility. for your child. Parents can find this to be a daunting challenge but it can be made easier. Here are some tips to help you find the right program for your child.

Talk to the other parents you know in your city or town. You know other people with children. Ask them their opinion about the preschools in your area. Do your friends use public or private preschools? The best way to find a good product or service is to get a personal recommendation from someone you trust. You may find that you do not go with the same place but this can give you a list of places you want to check out.

  1. Start looking early. When you are looking for the right early childhood education program for your child, you should plan to start looking about 12 months before you want to have them start. You may even want to start earlier, depending on where you live. Most schools offer tours from October to January. You should schedule your visits at least the year before you want to enroll your child. This will help get you on the wait lists you want to be on. There is a fine line between persistence and being a pest but you should be proactive.
  2. Think about the needs of your child. Think about how often you want your child to attend the program. Think about how long of a day will work for them and for you. There are both programs that run for a half day and others that go for the full day. Children can start at these schools as early as at 2.5 years old. Many stay until they are five and are ready to start kindergarten. The typical program goes for nine months but if you have a child with special needs, there are full year programs available. That helps them prevent and backsliding over the summer months. Whatever your needs are, there should be a program in your area that will meet them. If you find a program you really like but it only offers a half day and you need a full day program, they may be able to give you some day care options or ideas. They cannot say “yes” if you do not ask, so make sure you ask.
  3. When you visit the different programs, know what you should be looking for. Here are some things you definitely want to see at the facility:
    • Look at how the staff interact with the children. Watch their body language. It is often pretty easy to tell when children feel comfortable or not with the adults who are around. If you can, go in and observe some sessions and pay attention to this.
    • Ask about how much involvement you can have with your child’s development. Some programs are more open to parental involvement than others. Children do much better when there is more involvement from the family.
    • Look at the structure. The best early education programs do have a lot of structure to them. That can help children be better prepared for the rest of their education.
    • Make sure you understand how they feel about discipline. It is important to have a program that has the same philosophy as you do when it comes to discipline. It can be very hard for children to have one set of rules at home and then another at school.
  4. Think about what you really need in your child’s preschool. Many programs may be great but if they are too far from your home, that may be a deal breaker. You should not have to compromise too much on what you want or need in terms of things like childcare.
  5. Listen to your gut. If you visit a center and you get a really good feeling, that does mean something. By the same token, if you get a bad feeling, you need to go someplace else. Even if you are wrong, you will never be comfortable at all leaving your child in a place like that.



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