“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
I know it sounds crazy; preschool: the new college, but after our recent search it is absolutely true. Did you know that people sign up for preschool almost a year in advance? That is actually earlier than most colleges! Did you know there are wait lists a mile long of parents trying to get their kids into certain preschools? It’s true! We experienced it first hand and I am here to help you figure out how to find the right preschool for you.Is preschool the new college? How to find the right preschool for your child. Click To Tweet
1) Plan Ahead: Even if you are unsure if you want your child to go to preschool, you should still look around early in case you end up wanting to enroll them. I had done a homeschool preschool last year and had considered continuing this year, but decided for many reasons that we wanted to start our little man at an actual school. My suggestion is to start by asking your friends with kids where they go and why they chose that school. Do some online searching of local schools in your area and read some of the reviews. Call the schools and schedule a tour. I would say to do this one year before you think you would have your child enroll. That way when the registration opens up you can have your choice of schools. By the time we were looking most schools had been enrolling for a few months and we were already on the wait list at our top three.
2) Make a List: You need to think about the things that are most important to you and your child’s early education. Do you want them learning through mostly play? Do you want more structured academics? Do you want an option of a second language? Are you wanting them to have a chance to perform? What about simple things like; are there bathrooms inside the classrooms (because we all know they wait till the last second and need to go immediately)? How about the student to teacher ratio? For us we needed to find out if they allowed peanuts at the school because our son has a severe peanut allergy. We also wanted to find out what was their discipline policy? How involved could I be as a parent? Do they welcome volunteers? Do they have the days/times that we desired? Sometimes you don’t even realize what you want to ask until you start looking, but these questions should give you a start.
4) Go Sit in the Classroom: Beyond just going to tour the school, I HIGHLY suggest you go sit in a classroom, preferably with the teacher your child could have, if possible. There were some schools we loved at first sight; great rooms, lovely lists of activities, awesome playgrounds, etc…But then when I went to actually sit in on the classes I realized that not all schools were created equal. Don’t get me wrong, all the teachers were incredibly nice to the children and all were doing their best, but some just rose above the pack. The great ones were engaging the students, had complete attention, respect and love from them. They took simple moments and turned them into learning opportunities. They were able to use playtime as continual education and were teaching them to not only be good students, but good humans too.They were teaching them to not only be good students, but how to be good humans too. Click To Tweet
5) Weigh your options: Once you have done all your homework, toured and sat in on the classes, asked all the questions then you need to take some time to sit down and compare what you have learned. For us it was not just about price, cool playgrounds or even the nicest facility, it was about a community. Did we feel welcomed as a family to be involved with our child as he attended the school and would he be taken care of the way we have cared for him the first four years of his life. For me, once we weighed our options it became very clear which school we wanted to go to, it was just a matter of getting off the wait list and into a classroom.
I am happy to report that after four months of praying and being on the wait list, we are officially enrolled in our favorite preschool. I literally cried in the school office when I handed in the paperwork and they told me his teachers name (she had been my favorite teacher that I had seen while touring almost 10 schools). This school was actually the last one we toured and was my favorite as soon as I left. They allow the entire family to come to chapel with their student, they not only welcome parents to volunteer, but they give back $50 toward tuition for every five hours you help in a classroom, they make the children things like organic smoothies and fresh fruit for snack time, their teachers and staff were all amazing and I knew this was “the one.” I hope my research can help other parents who are just starting out their journey, or in the midst of it, or had no idea at all. Here’s to a great school year!!:)Deadline to register for Preschool is just around the corner, find out how to pick the right one… Click To Tweet