How to choose a preschool for your toddler
Your toddler's walking around, grabbing things from the floor, exploring the world, and growing up. It's high time you think about applying them for preschool.
While early education for toddlers is not mandatory, preschool is a delightful environment for your child to grow, learn, and adjust to social interactions.
High-quality preschool education makes a huge difference. And studies, such as the Perry Preschool Project and Boston public pre-K research on the long-term effects of preschool, show that toddlers who attend preschool have a successful journey through school and adult life.
Early childhood developments also note that the type of program has less effect on your child's early development. The crucial factor in choosing a preschool is how the teacher interacts with children and whether the space is child-friendly or not.
Here's how to choose a preschool for your toddler
The first thing you should do is ask questions. Ask a lot of questions and get as much information as you can. Make sure you know everything about local preschool programs and their environment.
Here's a little tip from people who like organizing their plans and research. Create a simple spreadsheet to collect the data you gather about different preschools. It helps with visualization and comparison with various preschool programs. A small spreadsheet can help you choose the most suitable preschool for your baby.
Learn about the teacher's qualifications, education, and experience
Your child will interact with their teachers daily. It's essential that whoever's teaching your kid is educated in the field, qualified, and trained to communicate with young children.
Toddlers are at the most crucial stage of development and need extra attention, care, and approach.
Have you ever had to deal with ten children screaming and running around? Yeah, now imagine doing that every day. This person needs to be trained as a preschool teacher to handle temper tantrums and other occurrences.
If the preschool allows it, you should meet up with the teachers and talk to them. While a simple conversation doesn't seem like a difficult task to do, it can help you make a decision. And don't forget to put that information in your little spreadsheet.
Make sure that teaching is interactive and engaging (gamified learning)
We don't have to remind you that toddlers learn best through play.
Try to imagine what's going on inside your toddler's mind daily. They have extreme curiosity towards everything they see and experience. Kids love to explore objects and environments around them; they don't have a filter and don't care if they get hurt.
Their unstoppable energy needs guidance and routine. Routine and organized preschool programs are essential when it comes to learning something new and unfamiliar.
You can't expect a toddler to sit still and listen to a lecture now, would you? Children need interactive and engaging learning experiences. That's why gamified learning is so important.
You'll often notice how teachers let children play games and learn with flashcards, pretend-play, etc. Some schools have even introduced educational mobile games in their curriculum.
So make sure the teaching is interactive, so your baby can enjoy the learning experience and fall in love with it.
Talk to other parents and ask your friends about the recommendations
If you've ever shopped online, you've read the reviews and recommendations for the product. Now apply that approach to this situation as well. You'd be hesitant to buy a T-shirt with zero reviews, and you wouldn't blindly choose a preschool for your toddler as well.
Ask your friends about their experiences and recommendations. Find a community of parents and ask questions in the group. Organize a little meetup with parents of students. Talk to them directly and discuss the subjects on your mind.
Learn about accreditation programs
Don't forget about the technical details and learn about the accreditation process and programs of the preschool.
Preschool accreditation is an added measure of reassurance for parents. Not every school will have the resources to go through the process; according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a preschool with proper accreditation can guarantee a high level of care and academic environment.
Ask about the curriculum
Preschool is your toddler's first step into their educational journey. Of course, you'd want to know about the curriculum and subjects the school is offering.
Look for preschools that offer a wide variety of subjects and philosophies. Don't concentrate only on maths and science; confirm that your child is actively involved in artistic activities, physical education, and more.
Visit the outdoor space and check the classroom
The classroom should be designed for young learners. Toddlers don't need a lot of desks or tables. You'll often see a rug, pillows, low shelves, and more.
While you're at it, you can check the environment. Absolutely visit the outdoor space and assess the safety and flexibility of the yard. The surroundings should be safe for a toddler to run around. Here's a little checklist to help you out.
See if the preschool has a community and learn how they manage administrative tasks
You might not consider this an essential part of choosing a preschool, but administrative tasks, communication channels, and a community are vital for clarity and security. See if the preschool administration organizes the community for the parents and how they announce news and communicate with parents about children and upcoming events.
Make sure it's easy to connect with the school administration and that they deliver clear and consistent communication.
Yes, preschool isn't mandatory, but it definitely has many benefits for both - children and parents. You can have quality time at home or at work while your baby takes their first steps into the educational journey.
Preschool experience can also help them develop the brain, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and more. It can be a great place to start learning and practicing social interactions with peers and adults as well.