If you are in the process of selecting a preschool for your child, there is no doubt that the wide range of choices can be overwhelming. Also, the pressure to get it right the first time around is considerable.
At Cadence Education, we believe there are several factors to consider when choosing a preschool for your little one.
Whether you are considering private preschool options, a full-time childcare center, or any other type of preschool learning center, we have compiled a list of questions for you to consider regarding whether a school is the right fit for your family.
Keep in mind, even after considering these factors, instinct can be your greatest tool for picking a preschool where your child will ultimately thrive and succeed.
Is the preschool learning center licensed and accredited?
It is a requirement for all private preschools to have a license. However, the licensing process can vary. Licensing does not necessarily ensure quality, yet it does document that the school has met the state’s basic health and safety standards.
Either way, you can have peace of mind that all Cadence preschools have met the highest standards of safety and education.
Will your child be safe here?
Have the staff show you around the facility and the school grounds, and carefully explain security measures in place to ensure teachers are properly supervising children both indoors and outdoors.
Also, ask if staff members and teachers have CPR certification or know first aid measures. Finally, ask about their procedure if your child gets hurt during school hours on school property.
Does the preschool meet your child’s needs?
Kids starting preschool have a wide range of maturity levels. Some are potty-trained, others are not. Some have a harder time separating from their parents or caregivers, while others are more independent. Some still take naps, and some no longer need one.
When choosing a preschool for your child, ask how each staff deals with these basic needs and then decide if each school’s policies will work for your child’s situation.
Also, when conducting research, ask about total student population, average class size, and student-teacher ratio.
Does the preschool meet your family’s needs?
Even if several local preschools are the most popular in your community, if it does not fit within your family’s needs, you may regret your choice.
Ask yourself: Do the school hours fit with for your work schedule? Is the location convenient? Is it within your budget? Does the school operate year-round?
Finally, does the preschool provide snacks or any other meals? If so, make sure you are comfortable with their nutritional approach.
Communication Is Key
There are other areas to consider as you conduct your preschool research. When you visit local preschools, be sure to:
- Assess the quality of students’ relationships with the preschool staff. Pay attention to the language used in the classroom and the friendliness of the teachers. Take the time to observe various classrooms during school hours to see how the teachers interact with the children.
- Confirm communication processes. Communication between school and home is vital. When families are provided feedback and regularly involved, studies show that children tend to do better, teachers feel more supported, and everyone works together to help with the children’s learning. For example, at Cadence preschools, we provide families with our KidReports app, daily teacher-parent informal talks at drop-off/pick-up, our curriculum communication pieces, displays in the classroom, and our signature family events.
- Understand the school’s approach to learning. High-quality preschools have structure and follow a specific philosophy, model, or curriculum, and have particular guidelines in place for addressing challenging behavior.
Will the pre-school prepare my child for kindergarten?
Knowing whether your child will be ready for kindergarten is another important consideration. The team of educators at Cadence Education encourages parents choosing a preschool to consider one that features a kindergarten readiness program.
For example, Cadence Education’s Kindergarten Club cultivates a foundational understanding of problem-solving, mathematics, reading, writing, social studies, and science. Throughout the January-August program, our preschool teachers talk more intentionally about kindergarten readiness with students, emphasizing similarities and differences, and what children can expect in elementary school. Our pre-K teachers also aim to reduce children’s’ anxiety levels about moving from a smaller school to a bigger learning environment, equipping them with the skills and emotional preparation they need to handle the transition.
Learn more about kindergarten readiness with this guide: “Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten? The Parent’s Guide to Knowing If Your Child is Ready for Kindergarten”.
The bottom line: Trust your instincts. In the end, you should ask yourself if you can see your child being happy and learning at any preschool you consider.
The school should be a place where you and your child both feel welcome, that aligns with your family’s values, and that is a good match academically, emotionally, and socially.