Preschool, often known as pre-k or nursery school, is a program that can provide priceless benefits to a child’s early education. While the overarching purpose of a preschool program is to prepare children for kindergarten, it has also proved to help cognitive development and improve behavior in their elementary years. Realizing the importance of these kinds of programs, many have been established over the years. When choosing a preschool program, it will be important to select one that will not only be right for your child’s needs but yours as well.
Day-to-Day at Preschool
When a child is away from a parent for a substantial amount of time, it will be important for parents to feel confident knowing what their child will be doing. When choosing a preschool, take some time to learn what an average day might look like. When visiting, ask questions like:
- What is the adult-to-child ratio?
- What is the program group size?
- What is the learning philosophy?
- Is play incorporated throughout the day?
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) recommends asking these questions to help determine the program’s quality. Their research has shown that a higher adult-to-child ratio and smaller group size lead to more beneficial time and results for a child. Group size and the organization’s learning philosophy will play key roles in how the preschool will structure a child’s day. A child’s time shouldn’t just spend time in the classroom either. It has been found that regular free play is one of the most essential ways for children to learn in their early years. This playtime is crucial to help children develop personally, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.
Teachers Make the Difference
Teachers play a massively important role in our society. They will spend a substantial amount of time with the children under their care, and those interactions will be part of shaping them for the future. While the philosophy and structure of a preschool organization are important, it is only as effective as the teachers that reinforce it. When visiting different preschools, take note of how the teachers interact with the children and their qualities. Do they have positive attitudes? How do they talk to the children? Do they encourage development? These are just a few of the questions to consider when determining if the teachers will be a good fit for your child. Second to their parents or guardians, children will be around their teachers more than most other people. Finding teachers that will positively support and nurture children in preschool will be invaluable for their growth.
Making the Choice
When choosing a preschool program for your child, there is no limit to the number of questions you can ask. As you make your choice, it will be essential to consider the program’s cost, environment, and availability, but the most important factor should be your child’s experience. As their parent or guardian, you will know the best and can use that knowledge to help choose the best preschool where they will be happy.
At the Y, we believe the values and skills learned early on will be the building blocks for future success and a happy quality of life. That’s why we incorporate our core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith into our preschool programs. Our goal is to provide each child with the life skills that they will need for success. By providing a safe, nurturing environment for all children, we are able to achieve this goal while promoting healthy character development. Enroll today to start your child on a journey of discovery, learning, and growth that will benefit them for years to come!