What to Look for in a Preschool
Selecting the right preschool for your children is one of the most important decisions you'll make for them. Preschools vary widely in the services and quality they offer. Not every center will be app...
Licensed: Centers that are licensed have passed an array of rigorous licensing steps. The facility must be safe, maintain a certain ratio in terms of teachers to kids, and will be inspected by state workers on a regular basis. When a daycare is licensed, this lets parents know that the place has gotten the stamp of approval from the state inspectors.
Ages of kids: Preschools may be for children ages 3 to 5 years of age, or they may include care for infants. Some places have afterschool care for elementary aged kids in the same facility as well. How old your child is and whether you need child care for multiple aged children will play a part in your selection.
Hours of operation: Some sites are only open part-time, such as 9:00 AM to noon or 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. These are often strictly educational or play group types. Other programs go from 7:00 AM till 6:00 PM and are doable for many working families. Still others offer round-the-clock or evening care for parents who work graveyard and night shifts.
Philosophy: There are multiple philosophies and curriculum in the different centers. Some examples include:
- Cooperatives: A cooperative is one where parents take turns working as aids in the classroom so that they can share in the experience. This is often an inexpensive option since parental involvement cuts down on staffing costs for the school.
- Montessori: Marie Montessori was an Italian doctor who created a model of education in the mid-1900s that is still quite popular today. This philosophy believes in lots of hands-on activities, a prepared environment, and respect for the children and the earth. Kids in these schools may have a garden, wash real dishes, and learn to read - all in one day.
- Play schools: Some centers don't believe in offering any academics during the early years and instead focus on play. Dress-ups, puppet shows, and playdough are typical activities here.
Teachers: Check out the staff of the centers you're considering. They should be intelligent, educated, and respectful of the children. Watch the kids to see how they react to the staff and you will learn a lot. Are the youngsters happy and relaxed, or are they scared of the staff? Are the teachers bending down to eye level to converse with the students, or are they sitting around texting their boyfriends? Watch and learn.
The preschool where your child spends hours of his or her formative years will play a large part on how they grow and develop. A high quality place will help them blossom, but a crummy place can cause them to wilt.
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It is important to research your Stockbridge preschool options. Start your evaluations by looking at some centers’ websites, such as www.abcearlylearning.com.