Some feel it's a good opportunity to build social skills, learn and build immunity as well. Others feel that the child hanging at home is better and starts school only in Kindergarten or Grade 1 at the age of six.
How to choose the right preschool for your child?
If you want your child to go to a preschool, here are some considerations that should be on your mind:
- Distance from the house: Location is so important. Maybe, there is a very well-reputed school but it's a bit of a drive from home. You should avoid it. It’s a major change in your baby’s routine so try to eliminate additional factors to make the transition smooth and comfortable.
2) The school campus: Please visit and glance through. It should be clean and safe. The classrooms and the corridors should be well-lit, and have broad staircases, anti-slippery floors, and mats. The washrooms should be clean and easy to use. The balconies should have safe grills. Electric points should not be accessible to the children and the kitchen/pantry should also be out of their reach.
3) The school’s reputation
Loved the infrastructure? Wait - check out reviews. Is the management credible enough? How experienced is the management who is in charge of the preschool? What about the students of previous batches? Check their website, follow their social media pages, and read reviews online to get a fair idea.
4) Teachers and Faculty
Are the teachers and attendants warm and radiate love? They are the second mothers who will be responsible for your child’s well-being when he or she is away from you. So, while choosing a preschool, go and meet the staff. It’s imperative that you find out if the teachers are adequately qualified and experienced to handle little children such as yours. If you are 100% convinced by the teachers, you could proceed with admission, knowing that your child will be in the best of hands. Consider the preschool teachers' qualifications. What qualifications do the teachers have? Do they participate in ongoing training? How do they interact with the children? How do they handle guidance and discipline? Ask questions like how they handle altercations and fights among children. Are their resolution methods facilitative or punitive?
5) Teaching Methodology
The curriculum in preschools may vary. Some schools follow only Montessori or Waldorf methodologies, and many follow a blended curriculum. Before the child gets involved in mainstream academics, at the pre-primary level, other essential skills need to be developed and refined, which will shape their personality and help them in the long run. Therefore, talk to the preschool coordinators and find out the kind of activities that are done in school, if they are play-based, the subjects that will be covered, etc.
6) Communication and Transparency
Is the principal approachable and likes to talk in an open-ended way about the child’s overall learning and development? Are the child’s behaviours observed non-judgmentally and discussed with parents? Are parents treated as partners or inconveniences?
If the school provides meals, then you must ask what is provided. Once you know about the options, you can inform the school in case your child is allergic to something. Eating together in school helps children in developing appropriate social skills and improves their eating habits. Also, don’t forget to check the utensils they are serving the food- are they hygienic enough?
8) Medical Support
How is their first-aid centre? How far is a hospital? Do they have vehicles readily parked?
9) Read the fine print
Be sure to read the parent handbook before you enrol. Find out about the school's hours, tuition rates, registration fees, and illness and vacation policies. Do the policies seem fair to all parties? If there is an Annual concert, what are parents expected to pay?
10) Visit the outdoor space
Is there clean, open space with good play equipment? Is there any industrial chimney in the vicinity?
Pay attention to your first impression. Parents' intuition is usually right. How do you feel when you walk in the door? Is the space clean, bright, and inviting? Do you feel welcome?
Ask a lot of questions and trust your instincts.
Also, if in a month or two, you are not feeling comfortable, feel free to take the child out of the school.