When trying to find the right preschool for your child it can be a little stressful to say the least. You want to make sure that you make an informed decision and pick the right school for your child. When it comes to finding the right preschool it is important to ask questions! These are the most important questions to ask a preschool when on the search for a preschool that fits your needs.
Finding the Right Preschool
Getting ready to send your little one to a preschool is quite challenging for every parent. You want to find a preschool that is close to your home or work with suitable school hours and a great program.
As a parent, you must find a preschool that suits your child best so that they reap all the benefits of preschool.
It is a vital decision and an overwhelming job, especially for first-time parents. Here is a list of must-ask questions when it comes to picking a preschool.
Questions to Ask a Preschool
A preschool helps your child’s cognitive development, behavioral improvement, social skills, and lays the academic journey foundation. You can gauge a preschool based on their performance on the following five fronts.
- Classroom atmosphere: Should have a joyful and friendly environment with clear focus areas.
- Teachers: Should help in academic growth and guide in classroom behavior. These teachers should be well trained.
- Discipline, socialization & meals: A preschool must help children to recognize feelings and interact with peers.
- Academics: Involves fundamental academic skills, creative activities, and other ways to help your child grow mentally.
- Health, Safety & security: Kids should not be vulnerable to any physical hazard.
Questions to Ask a Preschool about classroom atmosphere and design
1. What is the size of the classroom?
The number of students and teachers is a measure of individual attention. You want to make sure that it has a good child to student ratio to ensure your child gets the attention and hands on help that they need.
Also, ask if the preschoolers are divided by age for ease of teaching. Or, they follow a mixed-age group so that the younger children can learn from the older ones. And, the older can monitor the younger
2. What is the student-teacher ratio?
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the maximum class size of a preschool is 20, and the ratio is 1:10. Check if the school follows that. If the preschool has an even smaller ratio than that fantastic!
3. What is the time allotted for group activities?
Some preschools are play-based. They plan about half the day for this. Others are more academic-oriented and have limited free time. You must decide what suits your child best and your child-rearing style.
4. Do kids go through selected play activities or cycle through all of them?
Physical activities are great for a child’s development. With that being said, preschools should have plenty of playing opportunities. Children should be exposed to all activities for improvement of gross motor skills for proper development.
5. Is there a separate space to learn art and music?
Children have an ever-inquiring mind. Different activities should be held in separate centers. Going to a music classroom or an art classroom helps to prevent distraction.
6. What types of toys are in the classroom and how often they are used?
The toys should be attractive and educational at the same time as well as age appropriate. Children should have ample opportunities to learn through play.
7. Will the kids go on field trips?
Field trips are vital because they make children familiar with nature as well as different environments. A preschool should offer plenty of field trips for learning outside. If field trips are not offered they should have in school field trips where people come to the school such as police officers, fire trucks, etc for hands-on experiences.
8. Do children have regular nap times?
You will want to inquire about nap time. If your child naps you want to ensure that it follows the same schedule each day.
If your child is past the napping age, or a non-napper, you want to see what your child will have the opportunity to do during nap time.
Questions to Ask a Preschool about teachers
1. What is the educational philosophy?
Parents have the right to know the philosophy of the preschool. It could be academic, developmental, faith-based, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, or maybe something other than these. So, find out if the preschool follows the philosophy you believe.
If it is not the type of philosophy you are looking for in a preschool then you will want to find one that meets your needs.
2. Are the teachers trained?
Training requirements for preschool teachers differ from one state to another. As a parent, you want to be sure that teachers have at least a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Some teachers will even have Bachelor’s Degrees in early education. Be sure that your child’s teacher has the proper training to help with the development of your child.
3. How long have your teachers been with the school?
Unhappy teachers cannot make children happy. A high turnover rate is an indicator of unhappy teachers or not a great preschool staff or program.
Your kid will pass through changes that could be traumatic. Preschools having low turnover or good teacher retention are ideal. It means the teachers will stay for a school term. It ensures a strong bonding between children and caregivers, which is conducive to learning.
Questions to Ask a Preschool about discipline, socialization & meals
1. How they maintain discipline and resolve conflict?
Preschoolers are likely to cause mischief from time to time.
Ask, how the preschool responds to bites, hits, and kicks, and other preschool behaviors? Does the school allow children to resolve problems or adopt disciplinary techniques? How do they respond to a crying child? Visiting a classroom will give you an idea which is why a preschool tour is so important.
Some preschools are even installing cameras so that you as a parent can monitor the classroom all day!
2. How does the preschool foster social skills?
The development of social skills is a vital component of learning. Find out how they foster this.
3. Do they provide meals & snacks?
Inquire if the school provides healthy & nutritious meals and snacks. This will help you in the planning of what you need to do as far as meals are concerned.
Questions to Ask a Preschool about academics
1. What my child will learn?
What will my child learn is the most vital question that every parent should ask. You must know how the children will learn the language, math, music, singing, etc. Ask details about the curriculum that will be taught so you know what to expect. Not only that, this can help you determine how you will supplement the learning at home.
2. Are there extracurricular activities?
A preschool curriculum must ensure the overall development of the children. As a parent, you must know about the extracurricular activities and enrichment classes involved. This includes art, music, chapel time, field trips, and more.
3. Are there parent-teacher conferences?
Communication between a preschool and parent benefits the learning process. So you must find out if they organize such conferences. If not, find out how you will learn about the progress of your child. Will you have a communication folder, will they update you at pickup? Find out the best way to communicate about your child’s progress together.
Questions to Ask a Preschool about health, safety, and security
1. What policy do you follow for a sick child?
Finding out the sick policy is vital! If your child is sick, what is the procedure to come back to school? Will you get to make up the days? (Highly unlikely) Ask, if the school gives medicines on request or needs a prescription. These will help you know what to do when your child is sick.
2. What about safety & security?
You must know how they ensure safety and security to the children. Also, know who is approved to enter the school and how they keep the kids safe throughout the day.
3. Is the school licensed?
It is important to send your kids to a licensed preschool if you are going to a brick and mortar preschool and not a mommy and me type preschool.
During your Preschool Visit
When you are on your preschool visiting or communicating through phone or email, be sure you ask these important questions to ask a preschool. While you might find it awkward to ask a million questions you are doing it to make sure that you find the very best preschool for your child. You can guarantee that every single parent asks the same questions because we all want what is best for our child!
What questions do you think are important to ask a preschool? Share in the comments!