Presented by Noodle. Noodle is an education website helping parents and students make better decisions about learning.
Looking to find the right preschool for your child? Starting the preschool search can be a challenging task for parents. How do you choose which one will be the best fit for your whole family? And where will your child be happiest? To help parents answer these questions when choosing a preschool, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes parents make and how to avoid them.
1. Don’t trust the word on the street.
Talking to your friends, family, and neighbors is a good place to start on your preschool search, but take their opinions with a grain of salt. Your sister may love her daughter’s preschool — and maybe your niece is having a great experience — but that doesn’t make it the perfect fit for your unique needs.
In the end, trust your gut and go with the school that works best for your child and your family.
2. Don’t fall for a strict academic curriculum.
It’s important to research the academic standards of your preschool of choice. You want to make sure the teachers are experienced and well-qualified. Find out the state requirements for teachers and the facility you’re looking into. Every state has its own preschool regulations. To learn how preschool works in your state, check out this guide.
Look for programs that engage and balance the development of social skills, imaginative play, math concepts, storytelling, physical activity, and more. Overall, you’re looking for a well-rounded preschool program to offer a solid foundation for your child to learn to read, write, and do math.
3. Understand the school’s disciplinary philosophies.
How do teachers respond to a child’s difficult behavior? How do teachers say “no”? Knowing what disciplinary techniques are being used will help parents identify the ways in which teachers interact with your child. It’s important that parents spend time observing the classroom before school starts. Here are a few things to look for:
● Do teachers use time-out?
● How do the teachers respond to a crying child?
● How do the teachers respond if a child hits or bites?
4. Don’t allow your child to make the final decision alone.
“Daddy, I want this!” Yes, we’ve all been here. While it may be tempting to give in to your soon-to-be preschooler, parents know best — and they need to make an educated decision. Give your child the opportunity to spend the day at a preschool and take the time to listen to how she spent her time. After the visit, examine both the school and your child’s feedback to decide whether this preschool is right for you.
5. Know what your family needs.
Where is the school located? If an emergency happens, who will be closest to get your child? Can you afford the preschool? Answering these questions as a family will help guide your preschool search. If it doesn’t meet your family’s needs, you may regret your decision down the line.
6. Know what’s expected of you as a parent.
Many preschools expect parents to participate in fundraising and volunteering to help support the preschool. Parents should find out what is expected of them, both financially and in terms of time. Preschools often host co-ops on scheduled days that require parents to volunteer in the classroom. Many preschools also have an open-door policy — offer parents the chance to visit whenever it’s convenient for them.