If you live in a small town, finding a preschool might be a no-brainer. Perhaps there are only a few choices, or you love the one right down the block. However, if you live in a big city, or even a small city, there might be so many choices that it’s overwhelming, so much so that there are books devoted to this topic. In Michelle Nitka’s book Coping With Preschool Panic, The Los Angeles Guide To Private Preschools, she provides a comprehensive list of factors to consider before you visit a preschool. Although this book is aimed at Los Angeles parents, it’s a great list for anyone beginning this process for their child. Last week, I addressed finding a preschool philosophy you think will work for you and your child. Here are some other points to think about when looking for a school for your toddler. All quotes in this slideshow come from Nitka’s book:
Length Of The Day 1 of 15"Do you want your child in a half-day or a full-day program?"
Distance 2 of 15"How far are you willing to drive?"
Cost 3 of 15"How much money do you want to spend on preschool?"
Diversity 4 of 15"Is diversity important to you and if so, what kind of diversity is important to you?"
Philosophy 5 of 15"What is the educational philosophy you are most comfortable with?"
Public or Private 6 of 15"After preschool, do you plan to send your child to public or private school?"
Religion 7 of 15"Would you like your child to attend a religious preschool?"
Parent Participation 8 of 15"How much parent participation do you want to see in the preschool? What are the opportunities for parent involvement, and what are the expectations?"
Special Needs 9 of 15"Does your child have any special needs that might affect whether a preschool is a good fit?"
Communication 10 of 15"How much attention and catering do you need?" Newsletters, parent-teacher conferences, written evaluations, progress reports, e-mails, etc...
Size Of School 11 of 15"What size preschool do you want?"
Teacher Training 12 of 15"How important is a teacher's training and education level to you?"
Vibe 13 of 15"Do you feel your child will thrive in a smaller, more nurturing, more contained environment or one that may be larger, more competitive, and more stimulating?"
Physical Environment 14 of 15"How important is the physical environment to you? Please remember that an impressive physical environment does not always equal a top-quality preschool."
Remember… 15 of 15"There are no perfect preschools..."
I would like to add one more. Figure out where your child is in the potty-training process. Many schools are fine with kids that aren’t toilet-trained, but many are not.
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