Article written by Ilene Davidson, Cedar Hill Prep School Pre-Kindergarten Teacher / Early Childhood Director
Many parents have no idea where to begin when looking for a preschool for their child. Obviously, we want what is best for our children. Do I want my child in a school that is full of bells and whistles, or do I want my child in an age-appropriate classroom? Is a curriculum that is textbook, cookie-cutter based the best for my child, or do I prefer a curriculum that will allow my child real-life experiences and challenges? Does the curriculum emphasize cognitive, social and emotional development? Are the children active participants in the learning? What criteria does the teacher use to measure the children’s progress? Is a screening done for potential issues? Is there a mix of self-directed and teacher activities? These are just a few of the many questions one might ask. To ensure that you are off to the right start, do your homework. Ask your friends, family, and community for referrals. Word of mouth is key. Set up an appointment for a tour.
When you walk into the school, look to see how it is set up. Safety and cleanliness should be your top priority. Is there a security system in place? Do the classrooms represent the age of the children in these rooms? Once inside a classroom, look at the children’s faces. Do they seem happy, safe and content? Is there diversity within each classroom? Does the classroom environment reflect such diversity? Ask the teacher how long he/she has been working there. Ask about the teacher’s credentials. Are they Early Childhood certified? Are the teachers engaged with the children on their level?
Most importantly, go into this experience well-prepared and informed. Rely on your instinct. As parents, we tend to know what is best for our children.