Your child is ready for preschool. However, are you prepared to choose the best preschool, among the many choices, for him? Here are the 5 Ps of what to look for in a preschool for your little learner.
Proximity. Your preschooler should be energetic when he arrives in school, and not tired from a long drive. A close distance from your home allows your child more snooze time (something kids this age need), and a relaxed pace to get dressed and finish his breakfast before he leaves.
Place. Check the classrooms for proper ventilation, child-friendly equipment and a spacious area. Child-sized tables, chairs and shelves allow your child to reach materials with ease. Safety is of primary importance—are sharp corners padded, do electric sockets have safety plugs, is the play area matted? A safe, clean and organized place makes a pleasant second home for your preschooler.
Population. Know the class size and the student-teacher ratio. A student-teacher ratio of 4:1 for 2-3 year olds and 5:1 for 4-5 year olds is ideal to allow the teacher in-depth monitoring of your child's performance. In some schools, other adults such as teacher assistants or teacher aides may be present in class to fulfill this ratio.
Program. Do some research to know what types of programs are offered by different schools so you can pinpoint which is best suited to your child's learning needs. Sit down and discuss the curriculum with the school's directress or teachers. You may ask for a sample of a day's activities. It is important that teachers know their program well and are able to answer your questions thoroughly.
Parent-Teacher Communication. How often does the school update parents about their child's progress? Weekly updates keep you in the loop and let you give appropriate follow-through at home. Regular parent-teacher conferences are a must for you and your child's teacher to be in sync when it comes to your child's unique learning goals.
Choosing the preschool for your child may be a challenging task but it should be done carefully and thoroughly. Knowing what to look for takes you closer to making the right pick. Find an environment, a program, and experts that will make your child's first experience of school a fun and positive place for learning.