It is not easy to select a preschool for your child. You may find yourself thinking, “Where do you begin?” “What questions do you ask?” “How do I know if I choose the right one?” Well, you are not alone. Every parent selecting a preschool, especially for the first time, asks these questions and more. At Absorbent Minds we want to help you through this process. We have compiled some suggestions from our teachers and parents as well as questions we would ask if we were searching for the right preschool. We hope this information is helpful.
Comfort & Knowledge
The decision of who you leave your child with is an important one and we at Absorbent Minds understand. We want you to feel comfortable with your decision. A big part of that feeling of comfort is being knowledgeable about what your child will be doing and who they will be with while you are away.
We recommend learning all you can about the school. Read the information available on their website, newsletters, social media sites and request additional information directly from the school. Visit the schools you are considering and spend an ample amount of time observing. Our best advice is to do your research.
Questions we would ask potential schools:
- What is the school philosophy?
- What kind of training do your teachers go through? What experience do they have?
- Are ALL of your teachers certified in First Aid, CPR (required by Mississauga first aid training program), Communicable Disease and Child Abuse?
- What are the teacher to student ratios? What does State Licensing require? How many students are in each class?
- What is the curriculum you follow? Can you show me/demonstrate it?
- Do your teachers submit lesson plans? Can I see them?
- What is the daily schedule?
- How much teaching is done individually (one on one with the child) verses with the whole group.
- Tell me about parental involvement in your program. Do you host any family events?
- Do students take field trips? How are they organized? Can I attend?
- Can you tell me about the safety precautions you take to ensure my child’s safety while under your care?
- How is discipline handled?
- How do the parents and teachers communicate about a child’s progress?
- Are there any special programs offered? (Music, Art, Foreign Language, Science, etc.)
When visiting a school we feel being aware of what’s happening around you and asking questions about it can be extremely valuable. It is important to rely on what you see and how you feel while observing to answer some of your questions about the school. Below is a list of things we would look for during a school visit.
- Do the children appear happy? Safe? Comfortable? Are they engaged in learning?
- Are the classrooms neat, clean organized and child-focused?
- Are the materials well maintained and clean?
- Watch how the teachers interact with the children, especially the ones who are misbehaving or having difficulties. This will tell you a lot about the passion (or lack of) in the teachers/staff of the school. Are they patient? Speaking kindly? Do they seem to be enjoying what they are doing?
You are entering into an environment designed for 3-6 year old children; what the children’s needs are in the moment may affect what the teachers are doing or what is happening in the classroom. Be patient as you observe.
Don’t be afraid to walk in with a list of questions printed out and write down how each school answers your questions. Remember, you are visiting the school to interview them. Write down other questions that might be important to your individual child and family. If the school does not answer your question the first time, ask the question again.
We hope this information is helpful to you as you search for the best preschool for your family.