26 Jul Choosing the Right Pre-School for Your Child
As the summer draws to a close, and the new school year is ready to begin, choosing a preschool that meets your child’s needs can be a stressful challenge. When making this decision, it is important to not only find the perfect fit for your child, but also find the perfect fit for you. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration when weighing the options.
Finding the Right Fit for Your Child
When researching pre-school centers that would benefit both you and your child, remember to look for:
Low child to teacher ratio: The state government sets a ratio for child to teacher, based on age. For example, the North Carolina ratio in an infant room is one teacher to every five infants. However, many centers may opt for a lower ratio based on needs of the children, or level of comfort by staff and parents. The lower the ratio, the more individualized attention your child will receive.
Communication: It is often considered the cornerstone of any successful relationship, and for good reason. You are leaving your child with the center for several hours a day, where you will not be there to witness everything that goes on. Being able to have open communication about your concerns or questions about your child is extremely important. How the teachers and staff communicate to each other is also helpful.
Certifications/education: Many preschools have a star rating. This is a “grade” from one to five stars given based on several criteria. Areas graded include teacher/staff education, sanitation, and environment. This rating is public knowledge and must be posted.
Adaptability: If your child has any special needs, this must be taken into consideration. Is the center able and willing to make necessary adjustments that might be required for your child? Are they open to outside therapists coming in to treat your child? Are the teachers and staff trained and comfortable working with your child? Those are just a few questions that should be asked and answered when deciding which center to choose.
Visit your pre-school options: Most centers will provide a tour of the campus and a meeting with the director upon request. This will provide you with an opportunity to see the classroom and meet the teachers. Be sure to take notes about policies, guidelines, and general thoughts about the experience. These can be helpful when narrowing down potential locations.
Choosing the Right Pre-School for Your Child
Shandy Marso, Contributor