In the last #AskNurtureMyChild I talked about why you should already be thinking about Preschool for Fall 2017. After that blog was sent out, parents wanted to know if they needed to start now, what in the world should they be looking for in a preschool. Today's #AskNurtureMyChild is going to answer that by discussing the Top 8 signs of a great preschool.
What You Should Be Looking For in A Preschool
Preschool (ages 3-5) is a wonderful time in a child's development. It's a time in which their learning and social interaction grows exponentially. There are different educational philosophies that vary in their approach, from play-based to Montessori, Reggio Emilia to language immersion and many more. The philosophy that works for one family/child, may not be a good fit for another, so it is important to find a school whose culture and values and educational approach feel like a good match for you.
However, regardless of the philosophy, there are several things that you should be looking for in a preschool:
Clear Mission Statement that Guides School Activities
The preschool should have a clear purpose and approach to education that is consistent between the directors, teachers and parents. The activities and materials in the classroom should also match the mission statement.
High Expectations for All Students
The preschool should have individualized next-step developmental goals for each child in all four developmental areas (cognitive, social, emotional and physical). Preschools should vary the academic difficulty and time on task based on each individual child's needs.
Children's Experiences Vary Throughout the Day
Children should have access to various activities. They should have experiences working by themselves, in small groups and the whole group at different times of the day. Children should work on projects and have long periods of time to play and explore both indoors and outdoors.
Monitoring of Progress and Adjusting Teaching on an Individualized Basis
Each child's individualized progress should be monitored frequently during each year. Teachers should change their teaching styles and curriculum as needed to adapt to the individual children's interests, learning styles, and other differences.
Focus on Effective Learning Tasks
Teachers should use materials and activities from all four developmental areas. The materials and curriculum should be frequently reviewed, and changed as needed.
Strong Home/School Connection
Parents should understand the preschools mission and teaching methodology, and have frequent communication with their child's teachers. Children and parents should look forward to school and children should be happy to attend.
Safe and Orderly Environment
Indoor and outdoor areas should be clean, safe and healthy. DFPS licensing reports should have minimal issues reported. Children should be taught appropriate behavior both in an out of the classroom, with consequences that are clear, consistent and fair for the age of the child.
Strong Instructional Leadership
There should be low turnover rates among directors, teachers and staff. Teachers should have regular reviews and be able to tell you what the director expects of them.
I hope that helps give you a bit of direction on what to look for as you tour different centers. Please let me know what questions you have, as I would be happy to discuss things with you further.
The #AskNurtureMyChild feature will be posted every other week. This is where our Nurture My Child families can email their questions on anything child or family related to Rebecca@nurturemychild.com. I will be responding to your questions through email but will also pick a 'hot topic' to answer in more detail every other week. Keep your questions coming!