Did you know that the federal government spends about $37 billion per year on early childhood programs in the US? The reason for this is that preschool programs are proven to be beneficial to children’s academic, social, and emotional skill development.
If you’re a parent that wants to take advantage of these programs but doesn’t know which preschool is the right one for your child, you need to start your research early.
You’ll find that there are a lot of options, but they are certainly not equal, and you’ll have to figure out which one is the best for your child’s needs.
Keep reading below as we give you major tips on how to choose a preschool that helps your child succeed.
Start Your Search Early
A lot of preschools will take applications starting in January of that school year, so you need to look into your options well before this. You may be able to find open houses before January that you can attend, and it’s a good idea to get on the mailing list or reach out to each program so that you don’t miss these deadlines or events.
For the most part, it’s a good idea to start looking at your preschool options in September of the year prior. This will be when your child is likely around 2 years old, and you can learn more about their age restrictions at this time to see if your child will be eligible for the programs.
Figure Out Your Priorities
You are the one that knows your child best, so you can use this as an opportunity to figure out what type of environment they will thrive in.
Preschool is a big change, and choosing a preschool isn’t just about their prestige, their cost, or their location. It’s also about where your child is going to be comfortable to learn and grow.
Talk to the programs you’re interested in about your child’s specific needs and what focuses the preschool’s program has (for example, is it more academic, creative, or social-focused?). These preschools understand the importance of early childhood education and, depending on their focus, your child is going to get a unique experience at one school compared to another.
Create a Shortlist of the Best Preschools
As you look for preschools near you, you’ll find that there are actually many different options, so you need to weed through all of those to find the perfect fit.
This takes a little bit of research. One way to start is by asking other parents you know about their experiences with preschools. Alternatively, you can always take to the internet and search “preschool near me” to see what sort of results come up.
If your child has any underlying conditions, you may also want to have a conversation with the pediatrician about what they might think is the best preschool option.
Consider Other Basic Information
Every preschool does things a little bit differently, so you’ll have to learn as much as you can about these differences to make an educated decision. For example, some questions you might want to ask before making a choice include:
- Do you take children that are not yet potty trained?
- What are your class sizes?
- Do the children ride a bus to school, or is pick-up/drop-off required?
- How long is the school day? Are half days offered?
- Can parents take a tour of the school and meet the teacher before registration?
Think of anything else that your child might specifically need as well, and add those questions to the list. Inquiring about these things shows that you’re an attentive parent, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you see fit to get the information you need.
Understanding How to Choose a Preschool
When trying to figure out how to choose a preschool for your child, you need to consider what your options are, what your child needs, and what priorities you (as the parent) have.
Every family situation, and every child, is a little different, so you need to think about what is best for your unique circumstances. With these things in mind, you’re sure to find a preschool where your little one will thrive.
Check out the rest of our blog for more parenting-related tips next.
Biswajit Rakshit is a professional blogger and writer. He loves to write on various topics.