For many families, preschool marks the very first occasion in which kids are separated from mom and dad and instead surrounded by peers. Though this can be a troublesome time and lead to significant separation anxiety, there are things you can do to ensure your child has a wonderful preschool experience. Look for the following preschool wish list items when choosing a school, and you can rest assured that your separation anxiety will be short-lived.
Shared Family Values
One of the most important things you should consider before enrolling your child in a preschool is that school’s ability to teach your child the same values you teach at home. This is especially important in Christian households because many of today’s schools no longer take any sort of approach to religion. If your family is a Catholic family, it is always in your best interest to choose a Catholic preschool that will continue to teach your child Catholic values each and every day.
Not just anyone can work with preschool-aged children for an entire career. In fact, it takes very special and very kind people to manage groups of small kids. Be sure you include caring staff on your list of requirements and be sure that you visit the facility ahead of time to look for the signs that teachers and helpers really do care. Good indicators include smiling faces, laughter, and plenty of interaction between the kids and their caregivers.
It is absolutely crucial that your child is safe while away from home, so another consideration that should be on your wish list is the school’s set of safety and emergency plans. What does staff do if there is severe weather or a fire? What are the lockdown procedures if there is some sort of external (or internal) threat? Has the staff had thorough background checks? If a child is hurt during the school day, what are the school’s procedures for handling these injuries? In fact, you should also tour the playground and find out which doors – if any – are left unlocked during the day.
Curriculum & Structure
There are different types of preschools that can provide you with the type of environment you want for your child. For example, some preschools focus only on play-based learning and socializing with peers, which is a great way to prep your child for kindergarten. Other schools may focus on academics, even when the kids are as young as three years old, which can provide your child a head start when he or she goes to elementary school. Be sure that the preschool’s curriculum and structure include what you want for your child. Often, a mix of learning and play is best for kids of this age.
Transparency & Clear Expectations
Although the school has many responsibilities when it comes to your child, you and your child have some responsibilities, as well. The preschool you choose should be upfront, clear, and transparent about these. For example, what is the dress code? What happens if your child is late for preschool one day? How will behavioral issues be addressed? It is important that the preschool you choose has a very clear and easy-to-follow answer for each of these questions.
When picking a preschool for your child, there are many things to consider. However, your child’s safety, the demeanor of the staff, and the structure of your child’s school day are among some of the most important. These things will all help to ensure that your child gets the best possible start to his or her early education.