Points to Select The Perfect Preschool For Your Child
1) Know your Child!
School vs Child : The approach of a school is its perspective or method towards teaching and learning. You need to check whether that approach matches with your child’s needs as seen around 1-1.5 years of age, and not as per what you want your child’s personality to be.
Keeping your child’s temperament in mind is important while choosing a play school.
This is the easiest one. You need to shortlist a list of preschools that fit into your budget.
3) Know the approach
The following are a few of the main methods of teaching followed in India. Most playschools use one or a combination of any of these methodologies.
According to Wikipedia, “Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.”
In simple terms, this method focuses on the individuality of each child and lets every child follow his/her own pace of learning. In this format, there is no comparison between children of the same ages.
- The Reggio Emilia Approach
This approach is used in mostly all preschools. However, it is mixed with one or two other forms of instruction. The idea behind this approach is to teach children to discover themselves through symbolic ideas.
These ideas are developed through painting, sculpting, and dramatising. Basically, it is an approach based on exploration and ideation.
Such schools are deeply involved in observing, touching, free play, art and drama.
Under this approach, teachers do not teach but only assist children in learning. In other words, teachers help children make their own plan for the day.
Sessions on what children would like to discuss or do during the day are conducted where the idea of every child is given its due. Basically, in this format, the kids are in-charge.
This approach is also called the Steiner approach based on Steiner’s views on stages of development.
Waldorf believes that merely reading and learning through rote is not the true way to develop–imagination and analytical thinking should be cultivated and encouraged in each child.
The concept of ‘circle time,’ where children sitting together in groups to chant rhymes and learning together is widely used in this approach.
Many playschools use one or the other tenets of this theory in their approach to teaching. So go ahead, choose your approach!
4) Emotional Guidance
Meet every child’s emotional needs
Flexibility of approach within a preschool is paramount. In fact, preschoolers approach their teachers as they would approach their mothers so the level of emotional and behavioural guidance within school should be high.
This is nothing but playtime directed at making the child more in touch with his/her soft skills–skills of group play, co-operation, calmness, and kindness.
5) All work and no nap!
Time and schedule
The timings of a playschool matter the most, at least during the initial days of school.
Proper school timings set the routine for the entire day of your child. You are then able to comfortably plan his/her eating and napping schedules accordingly.
Preschools, unlike primary and senior schools, should not start at the crack of dawn. Preschoolers need more time to get ready, eat, and leave the house.
Preschools should also not start very late in the day as that sets a bad body clock for the coming years of school.
The timings of the playschool should match with your work timings and your overall schedule.
In short, it’s a balancing act between your and your child’s schedules.
In fact, children start getting averse to the very idea of school if reaching it is tiring for them. Hence, the location makes a very important point to consider while choosing a preschool for your child.
7) Cleanliness matters!
Children should be provided with a neat and clean environment in the playschool that you choose so that their health does not suffer.
Since it’s an understood point already, let’s just close with the adages that health is wealth and cleanliness is godliness!
Safety within the school premises, and in the way kids are dispersed from the school forms a key point to consider while choosing a preschool.
Most schools share the measures they take for safety with parents during admission meetings. However, Expert suggests that you should not buy their word and do your own reference check.
The best thing is to talk to parents whose kids are already studying in the school and understand whether the school keeps its promised measures in place or not.
9) Voice and View
For preschoolers, it’s paramount that the school involves parents at every step of the way.
A preschool exposure is more about skills and personality development than about academics for your child. This is the reason why you should check whether the preschool that you are considering allows your voice and views or not.
Openness and interaction between parents and the school are very important at this nascent stage of your child’s development.
Since a playschool is a stepping stone for their child’s higher education, parents must consider the board or institution that the school is accredited to.
In India, ICSE, CBSE, IGCSE, IB, and the individual state boards are most common among others. While considering a preschool, you might want to compare the respective board or institution that the school follows.
Choosing a preschool? Be sure to get the answers to these questions first!
- Is the school accredited and licensed?
- Are the teachers credentialed?
- Does the school meet your family’s needs?
- Does the school meet your child’s needs?
- What is the school’s educational philosophy?
- What is the school’s approach to discipline?
- Will your child be safe here?
- How much parental involvement do you expect or want?
- What’s the make-up of the classroom?
- How much free play time do the children have?