Nowadays, many parents see the importance of an early years education, as evidenced by parents enrolling their children into preschool from as young as two years’ old. An early years education prepares children to enter primary school by equipping them with basic academic, social and communication skills.
It is important to consider a few factors when choosing the right preschool for your child.
There are various preschool curricula available today. Preschools will usually develop their own specialised curricula based on existing curricula such as Reggio Emilia, Montessori Method and Whole-Child Education, among others. Do you think your child would benefit from a more academic or play-based curriculum? Do your research on which curriculum suits your child’s personality and learning style the most.
2. Teacher Credentials
Remember to always ask for the qualifications of the educators of each preschool you visit. Enquire about the minimum qualifications, the amount of work experience the teachers have and the turnover rate. Do the teachers go through regular training? Are the teaching techniques used up-to-date? As your child will spend a lot of time away from you when he enters preschool, it is important to ensure that he is surrounded by the best teachers possible.
3. Teaching and Disciplinary Methods
Take the opportunity to observe a class in session if the preschool allows it. You can see first-hand how children are disciplined by the teacher when they misbehave. Do the teachers know how to handle conflict, tantrums and physical outbursts of emotion in a calm and constructive way? This is also the time to ask what forms of discipline are used such as a time-out period or reprimanding. Make sure you are comfortable with the preschool’s disciplinary methods before deciding to enrol your child there.
4. Outdoor or Physical Activities
Children are naturally full of energy and enthusiasm. Therefore, you should consider a preschool that incorporates physical activities into its curriculum. It is common for preschools to allocate slots for outdoor play and light exercise in their students’ timetable. In addition, a number of preschools also have swimming pools and playgrounds.
How are children monitored other than being supervised by teachers? As this will be the first time your child will be away from you for a long period of time, it is important to ensure their learning environment is safe and secure. Ask the preschool whether there is CCTV installed and take note whether the pick-up and drop-off area is monitored by a security guard.
Other factors when searching for a preschool are location, fees and meal plans. Most importantly, make sure it is the right time for your child to enter preschool looking at his age, maturity and sociability levels.