Five Tips Friday: Choosing a preschool

It's hard to come to terms with it, but we have finally enrolled Little Dude into a preschool. It took us months and many visits, and much research to decide on the one! Finding the right preschool can be a daunting task, but there are a few things  you should look at before zeroing on the right one.

Five tips for choosing a good preschool for your child

Five tips for choosing a good preschool for your child:

1. Choose a close location

As your child begins school for the first time, try to look for one which is within walking distance or a short commute. The stress of starting a new school, coupled with a long commute can be too tiring for kids. Another advantage is that you can pick up your child early if they have trouble settling in the first few days. You can also get there quickly if they are taken unwell. To find the schools in your community, you can even use Google Maps! They list schools too, so you can search by location.

2. Understand the teaching method

Depending on where you live, you may or may not get a choice in curriculum. In countries where they have a lot of expats (like the UAE), there are many curricula to choose from, and you will have to weigh the benefits of each and what best suits your future plans. If you have already decided on a curriculum, ask them for their teaching methods. Do they have a Montessori style, play-based, or academics-oriented? Each method has it's benefits, so ask to look at their class schedule to understand it better. It's great if you get to talk to a teacher or two. If there's an Open House, take full advantage of it, and ask many questions.

3. Look at the staff-student ratio

Schools that have a low staff-student ratio (that is, more staff for fewer students) means that your child will get more attention. Ask about the number of teaching assistants and caretakers in each class. Also find out what the maximum number of students is in each class.

4. Verify resources and facilities

When you visit a preschool, check if the classrooms are bright and airy. See how big the play spaces are, how large and easy to access the toilets are, what medical facilities are available, and what fire safety measures have been taken. Have a look at the teaching tools and resources in the classroom. Do they have enough tools for role play, creative activities, and so on?

5. Get feedback from parents

There are many online forums where you can get feedback from other parents. Do a search to find previous reviews. But take care - online reviews can be tricky as some people try to malign institutions based on personal agendas, or simply for trolling. A good thing to do would be to wait outside after school ends and talk to some of the parents about how happy their kids are there. Also, ask them if they've had any issues in the past, and how the school handled them.

Five Tips Friday is a series of posts on five quick tips 
about parenting, blogging, social media, travel, or just about anything!

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Melissa Matters said...

Great tips! I had my daughter at one school that was further away from our home. The morning traffic in that location was so stressful and I was glad when she went to a different school right in our neighborhood. Ratio is so important too.

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

I actually just posted on this topic recently too! A lot of our suggestions overlap, which I believe means that great minds think alike! :)

Tarana said...

Location was actually the most important deciding factor for us!

Tarana said...

I know, and at the time, I had this post written down! Guess we do think alike :)

Far Zain said...

All the best to the little one !

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

YES! I love those moments when writers/bloggers were obviously on the same wavelength. :)

Louise George said...

Great tips - would agree with these. Our biggest criteria was finding a preschool that I felt confident would make sure they were well-informed about J's heart condition and her needs relating to this and being within 5 minutes walk of our house was great too!

Let's Talk Mommy said...

Brilliant tips as always Tarana. I agree with these. We are finding out soon what school Buba will be going to and the process was daunting to say the least. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

Lindsay @Newcastle Family Life said...

I agree with all of these tips. We enrolled my one year old at the pre school her older sister attended when she was a few weeks old, but as she will not start until she is almost three and a half we have been looking at somewhere she can go from two and a half and i am struggling to decide where to send her x #sharewithme

Merlinda Little said...

So spot on! Exactly what we use as criteria from when we were looking for a school for my son! Not just pre-school but his primary school as well =) #sharewithme

Tarana said...

Thank you!

Tarana said...

It's the best thing when you find a good school that's close to home!

Tarana said...

I'm sure it was a trying process!

Tarana said...

Hope you find a good place!

Tarana said...

Thanks, so I'm on the right track!

Susanne Remic said...

Great tips. Mine have all gone to private preschools but we're thinking Elsie will go elsewhere so this is handy- thank you! x

Tarana said...

Happy you found it useful!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I'm a former preschool teacher and these are all great tips!

Meredith said...

My youngest is starting preschool in the fall. I'm excited for him (and me). great ideas!

Tarana said...

Glad you think so!

Tarana said...

Ah, how exciting!

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

I bawled the first day of preschool but it ended up being such an amazing experience! So happy for you that you found a great one for your little dude and are sharing such great tips!

Tarana said...

I know I'm going to be bawling too!

Tas D said...

Brilliant tips. We only really have one curriculum here but we definitely looked at things like keyworker to children ratio and the reviews it had and really picked the best one. He loves it now and I'll be sorry to leave :)

Tarana said...

Good to hear you found the right one! I'm sure he'll miss it too.

Betty Johnson said...

That's a good point that kids can be stressed about a long commute. I want my children to be as comfortable as possible with their preschool, so I'll definitely take proximity into consideration. I'll also make sure to get feedback from the other parents. It's best to do as much research as possible for your children.

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