Preschool Learning: What to Look for in a Preschool
There are as many types of preschools
out there as there are types of kids. That said, there are some general qualities to look for in a stellar school, no matter what the philosophy or style:
- A low teacher-to-student ratio. Ideally you want one teacher for every 10 to 12 kids. If there's a bigger ratio than that, your kid won't get the attention he needs. (And if he's like all other preschoolers we know, he needs a LOT.)
- Certified, well-trained teachers. At least one member of the staff should have a degree in early childhood education. You want 'em to know their stuff!
- A balanced, fun curriculum that works both your kid's fine motor skills and gross motor skills. There should be lots of puzzles and art supplies, matching games, blocks and toys for imaginary play available to your kid. And a good outdoor play area is key. You want your kid to burn off his wackadoo energy on the playground, not in your living room.
- A kind, engaged teacher. Studies show that a positive relationship with a teacher is linked to cognitive advancement in preschool. In other words, if your kid likes his teacher, he's more likely to learn from her!
- A safe environment. Make sure you feel comfortable with the rules, procedures and security of the facility. You don't want to be worrying about your kid when he's at school (you do enough of that when he's home!). And make sure the school's values and discipline techniques are in line with yours.
- A stocked bookcase. Even if your kid is going to a play-based program, you want to make sure there is an emphasis on reading. Instilling a love of literacy early on leads to greater academic success later on.
- Choices galore! Make sure your kid gets to pick what he wants to do and play with at school and that all the activities aren't driven by the teachers. Research shows a correlation between making choices at a young age and future success.
- Location, location, location. Pick a school that is close by and easy to get to. You don't want your kid to be burnt out by a 45-minute drive before he even walks in the door.
Bottom line, trust your gut. If the place seems clean and filled with awesome stuff to do, the teachers appear to be engaged and the kids seem happy, you've probably found a great place for preschool learning!report abuse