Scouting for a pre-school can be an exciting as well as a daunting task. After all you want the best for your child and you want her to spend the days enjoying and learning, even though it’s going to be for a short period. Its also an important milestone in your child’s life, so you can’t afford to make a wrong decision. So be prepared to invest some extra time, if you want the best results.
Here a few things to consider
Start early: Finding the right playschool won’t be done in a day’s time. It may take weeks, or months before you can find something that suits you and your baby. So, don’t keep it pending till the last minute as it will only compel you to make hasty decisions. To avoid regretting later, it’s best to start your search at least a few months in advance.
Proximity: It’s always good to factor in distance while choosing your child’s pre-school. A school that is in the vicinity saves you time and the hassles of battling through traffic. A child who has to spend a hour in the car or bus to get to school, may get tired out by the time he reaches his destination.
However, you may want to consider the option of finding something suitable close to your workplace. This works well for working couples who don’t have their offices close to their home. You can never tell when an emergency arises. So it’s good to look for a pre-school that is close one parent’s office.
Ask around: Once you’ve made up your mind, the next step is to do some research. The best way to get information is through interaction. Talk to your neighbours, friends and any other acquaintance you think might be resourceful and whose opinion matter to you. Nothing works better than word-of-mouth recommendations. So get opinions from as many people as you can to help you narrow down your choice. It is also important to get feedback from parents of children are in the pre-school.
Background check of infrastructure: To re-confirm the information you’ve collected from your friends and acquaintances, you could go one step further and do some investigations online and check the reputation and credentials of the school. In the process, you will also get a complete picture of the school activities and facilities – the infrastructure, the strength of the teaching staff, on, so on and so forth.
Curriculum and school environment: Ask yourself what are you expecting from the school? Are you looking for a place which will focus more on overall development of your child or a place which stresses more on academics? A place buzzing with activity, a fun environment where the children are busy and indulging in activities or a place where interaction is minimal?
Physical Check: After you’ve shortlisted the schools, personally checking out the school will give you a better idea to finalise your choice. While going around the school, do keep in mind to observe the kind of environment the school is providing your child. Is it a warm and friendly environment? Is it a stimulating one where your child would look forward to go to everyday? Are the teachers and assistants affectionate and caring? What is the kind of attention the children are getting?
Child teacher ratio and class size: These are important aspects that you must consider while enrolling your child in a pre-school One teacher-many children is not a comfortable ratio as the teacher may not be able to handle the kids. The chances of her getting cranky are also high as she could get tired out easily managing a large number single handedly.
Also watch out for how comfortable the class rooms are. If they’re stuffy and kids are crammed up in a small room, you know you’ve come to the wrong school.