Something that isn’t new, but somewhat more prominent lately, is that homeschool parents are feeling overwhelmed with having older and younger children at home. I am getting asked more by parents if it’s bad to put their little ones in preschool so they can homeschool their older children.
If you have been reading my blog for the past decade, you know that you won’t get judgment from me. There is nothing wrong with finding what works best for you and your family. So, if you decide that this is the route you want to take, let me give you some tips on how to choose the right preschool for your little one.
Finding the right preschool or child care provider for your little ones can be daunting. Here are some top tips to help you find the perfect option for your child’s needs.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices, you might be wondering, “is preschool necessary?” Rather than giving up your search, you can use these tips to find the right preschool, stress-free.
To get your started in your search, start by thinking about your family’s need an budget. Do you need a full-day preschool program with extended care hours while you’re at work, or is a half-day program enough? Do you want a program that fits with a particular educational style? Would your child do well in a center or a smaller home setting? Once you have created your wishlist, you can start actively looking at some options.
Ask For Referrals
Talk to your child’s pediatrician or ask friends who have slightly older children to get their opinions on some local preschools. Ask them specific questions about the preschool’s educational style, reputation, curriculum, and teaching staff. Once you have narrowed the search down with a shortlist from your friends, you can visit some of the preschools.
Pay Attention To Your First Impression
Your intuition as a parent is usually right. How did you feel when you first walked in? Is the preschool clean, bright, and welcoming? Do you feel invited in?
Learn About Accreditation Programs
A lot of preschools take part in voluntary accreditation programs. Not all high-quality preschools will have the resources to be able to do this, so this doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker, but preschool accreditation does give you some more reassurance.
Consider The Teacher’s Qualifications
What qualifications do the preschool teachers have? Do they take part in ongoing training? How do they interact with the kids? How do they manage discipline and guidance?
Ask About The Curriculum
Philosophies and curricula can vary a lot between different preschools. Look for one that offers opportunities for hands-on learning and developmentally appropriate play. Find out if the curriculum will also encourage social and emotional development, not just academics. Children should be engaged in their learning.
Visit The Outdoor Space
Outdoor play can be overlooked in favor of academics, even in preschools. However, children still need the chance to be outside. Make sure you choose a preschool that knows this and offers plenty of time for outdoor play and learning about nature.
Look For Signs Of Community
Your family will be spending a lot of time at the preschool, so it should be a place of community, where parents, children, and teachers all support each other. Does the preschool offer any events to build these important relationships?
Read The Fine Print
Read the parent handbook carefully before you enroll. Make sure you understand the hours, tuition rates, registration fees, and illness and vacation policies. Do the policies seem fair to you?
Spend some time doing your research to help you narrow down your options and choose the right preschool for you and your child.
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