Choosing the Best Preschool Made Easy

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Did you attend preschool as a toddler? Whether you did or did not, it is likely your children will. In 1990, about 56% of four year olds were in preschool, compared to 66% in 2012. The numbers are a little lower for three year old children (from 33% to 41%). The reason for the rise is easy to surmise, as states expect their littlest school children to learn more according to the Common Core Standards. Parents understandably want their children to be ready for this new improved Kindergarten.

How to Find a Preschool.

The first place most people turn when they need information is the internet. And it can be a great resource to find preschools nearby. Starting the search this way has its perks. You can search for parent reviews, and calculate the distance and corresponding drive time, meaning how long the kids may spend in the car each day. If the preschool has a detailed website, you may see pictures of the classrooms and play areas. They might have a daily schedule and pricing available as well.

After the internet, most people will ask friends and coworkers for good places. While this might seem great, as you are essentially getting a personalized review, take whatever advice you receive with a grain of salt. People have different values, and what is perfect for one person is lacking for another. Asking others for good preschools can be a good start on finding new places.

Another way of finding a school is through the mail or by flyers. Some local preschools send out informal invites for parents in the community to come visit their school. Other places may have a flyer at the grocery store, veterinarian’s office, or pediatrician’s office. This method gives you less to go on upfront, but can still lead to a great preschool. But it means you will have to call and tour the facilities to find the information you need. There is no previewing.

Choosing the Best Preschool.

When searching for the best preschool for your child, it is important to know what you value and what you are looking for in a teacher and facility. Some parents care about playtime more than the curriculum, while others prefer a lower cost option. It is helpful to make a list of what is important to you before touring a facility so that you can ask any questions they do not answer on the tour. Ask them what their learning philosophy is, and how they apply that to the way they teach the children.

Because the children in preschool are so young, ask about their potty-train policy. Do children have to be fully potty trained to attend the school? For what are children disciplined, and how is it practiced? It is important that the your values and the schools are in alignment on this.

Benefits of Preschool.

Preschool is meant to help very young children transition into Kindergarten when they are older. Children are more open to learning when they feel confident in themselves. Preschool helps little hands learn how to hold scissors and use them effectively. It helps them learn how to control their impulses and sit still, follow directions, and play nicely with others.

If the curriculum of a preschool is considered most important to you, ask if the preschool you are thinking of is accredited. This certification is granted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Preschools with accreditation align with what will be taught in state elementary schools so the children are prepared.

If all of this information is overwhelming, do not worry. About five million children across the U.S. attend some sort of preschool program every day. Just do your research, compare facts, and trust your instincts.

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