As a parent you are always trying to give your children the best in life. You work hard to provide financially, you buy good food and prepare healthy meals and you spend time with them whenever you can. You likely spent a lot of time looking for a great home in a great neighborhood so they have a wonderful place to grow up. And, as the child gets a little older, you begin to look for just the right preschool so they can start their education off right.
It’s really important to give your child the best educational opportunity you can afford. The preschool years, generally from ages 3 to 5 and before kindergarten, are truly formative times where so much learning and development take place. Socialization is also a key component of early childhood education. As your youngster reaches preschool age and you begin visiting and evaluating different schools and programs, there are key things you should look for.
How Staff Interacts with the Students
Ideally you’ll see staff getting down to eye-level with the children and actively listening to what they have to say. They should be looking to truly understand what the youngster is sharing and responding in a caring way. Positive, encouraging relationships between teacher and students, and students and students are so important at this age.
Fun and Joy in the Classroom
Children ages 3 and 4 learn so much through play and exploration. When you are observing the class environment, you should feel the joy in the classroom. Learning is not about a sitting quietly in a line of desks, it’s about the enjoying the happiness that comes from new discoveries. Each youngster has different interests so you’ll want to see lots of individual learning going on rather than a regimented memorize the flashcards approach.
A Kid Friendly Environment
While things should be fairly orderly and definitely safe, you want to see an environment that is kid friendly and has lots of learning material the children can access. That means appropriately sized furniture and shelves with games and learning tools that the young ones can take down and put away themselves. You should hear and feel a gentle hum of excitement that indicates a group of happy kids at play and learning.
Helpful Behavior Guidance When Appropriate
If you have a group of children together, you are inevitably going to have some behavior issues at times. Kids can get frustrated and act out and are just learning social skills at this early age. It’s helpful if the classroom has some rules and routines that encourage sharing and the like. You will also want to see teachers that are helping the child and teaching them better ways to be, instead of chastising or punishing preschoolers.
Staff Members That Are Happy
Early childhood education can be a stressful job at times. Talk to the teachers and staff and see how much they love and enjoy their job. It’s important that the staff feels supported and taken care of by the school administrator or owner. When you talk to the administrator find out what the teacher turnover rate is. You can also read online reviews that may tell you more about the school staffing too.
Early childhood is a critical time for learning and socialization in a kid’s life. Choosing the right preschool can help your child develop their skills and can foster an interest in learning that will serve them well throughout their life.