5 Simple Steps for Choosing the Best Preschool
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Looking for a preschool could be overwhelming with the number of options available. Here are a few things to consider to make the decision making process simpler.
By Dr. Sueling Chen
Ask yourself, “What do I want for my child?” Understand your goals for your child, and consider each aspect of child development:
Physical & motor skills development – the way children connect their minds with their bodies in order to be able to learn and explore
Cognitive & intellectual development – the way children acquire, process, and use mental capabilities, such as remembering information, problem solving, and decision making
Social & emotional development – the way children deal with their emotions, interact in various environments, and react in different situation
Combined, these factors enable children to develop a more complex behavior called executive function, or the ability to manage cognitive functions – e.g., self-regulation, managing and completing tasks.
Research each preschool’s philosophy and mission statement, then match it with your goals. Each preschool should have goals for its students and a teaching philosophy that reflects those goals. For example, some schools aim for a well rounded development of the child using the Montessori philosophy; some schools focus on academics using a strict standardized curriculum; some schools serve more as day care centers and focus on play while using an ad-hoc curriculum. Determine if the preschools value the same things for your child that you do.
Understand various teaching methodologies here: Montessori vs. traditional education
Visit preschools. Now that you (hopefully) have found preschools that can talk the talk, see if they can walk the walk. Visit the classrooms, and ask how the preschool will work with you and your child to reach your goals (determined in step #1 above). Understand the student-teacher interaction within the classroom, as well as the administration and leadership outside the classroom.
Make sure the preschool has a proven track record. There are no such things as shortcuts in education, and results take time. Understand the history of each preschool, the consistency of its education quality, whether alumni keep in contact, and how its alumni have fared. Will you be happy with these results?
Picture yourself there, and determine how willing people are to work with you. No matter how perfect a preschool may seem, communication is key to making sure your child is developing at his/her optimal pace. Understand the communication channels available to you, and how you will be kept up to date on your child’s progress.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions. Best of luck!