Disclosure: This post was written by Erin Singer and sponsored by Trinity Episcopal School.
Top Three Tips for Choosing a Preschool
Choosing a preschool for your little one can be a pleasant and exciting experience, especially if you have some guidance and support along the way! Below are some top tips to keep in mind when touring preschools!
1. Importance of student and teacher relationships: Knowing for certain that your child is happy, safe, and cared for is the number one priority for almost every parent. As you tour schools ask yourself: Do the children appear happily engaged in play and learning activities? Do teachers use positive language so each child feels known and valued? Are parents a welcomed part of the school community? Are classrooms well lit with natural light and filled with student-created work? Are toys and learning tools easily accessible to even the smallest learners? What is the student to teacher ratio in the classroom? Children need to be surrounded by caring educators to ensure they receive the individualized attention that is needed in those early years. The best preschools will leave the children and parents with a feeling of warmth and care. Parents should know and trust that the school is an extension of the home with a true sense of safety, belonging, and community.
2. Focus on social/emotional development and learning: Setting the foundation for future learning should be a crucial part of any preschool. Teachers can do this by intentionally teaching social/emotional skills, and prospective parents should take notice on how this is done at each school. A quality preschool program will spend time teaching children self-regulation strategies, how to find their own voice, and how to best express their emotions.
3. A wide variety of different types of play and learning experiences in the daily schedule: During your discussions and visits with various Preschool Admission personnel, it’s important to ask about the different types of classes that may be offered at the preschool. Will your child have opportunities to participate in music, art, physical education classes? How much free play and structured play is offered? Is there a chance for early exposure to foreign language? The ideal preschool setting will provide your child with a wealth of different types of learning, including a healthy mix of indoor and outdoor play.
As parents, you are beginning a wonderful journey with your child. Taking the time to make the best decision for your child and your family will undoubtedly pay off, as your child’s first experience in preschool should be a joyous one! For more information, please visit Trinity’s “25 Questions Parents Should ask During a Preschool Tour,” which also includes a free handy downloadable sheet to take on your tours.
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Erin Singer was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. This school year marks her seventeenth year in elementary education. Erin began her teaching career in the public school system of St. Charles Parish and has spent the past fourteen years serving in many capacities at Trinity Episcopal School in the New Orleans Garden District neighborhood. While at Trinity, Erin has loved being a Second Grade and First Grade lead teacher, Lower School Learning Specialist, Responsive Classroom School Leader, Curriculum Coordinator, and is currently serving as the Lower School Head to grades one through four. When Erin is not busy at school, her life as mom to ten-year old twin boys, Austin and Benjamin, certainly keeps her on her toes! Benjamin and Austin have attended Trinity with Erin since they were eleven weeks old. The twins love to tell everyone they meet that their mom is so lucky because she gets to be with Trinity kids every day at the best school in the city!
I appreciate that you listed helpful tips on how to choose a preschool center. My daughter is turning four, and I’m hoping to send her to the nearest preschool here in town. With that considered, I shall then follow your advice to ask about the types of classes that the school can offer to see if my child can be exposed to different types of learning.
I’m planning to enroll my child in preschool because this will help enhance his social skills, unlike teaching him at home. Well, I agree with you that it would be best to check if the teachers use positive launage when it comes to communicating with their students. You’are also right that a great pre school facility will take the time to teach the children self regulations strategy.