Choosing a Preschool - Red Apple Reading ExpressMany of you out there with young children may be considering enrolling your little one in a preschool program. If chosen wisely, your child can greatly benefit from being in a preschool setting. So how do you know if you have chosen a good preschool for your kid? Today we will look at a few characteristics of good preschools.

Good Teachers
A vitally important component to a good preschool is the quality of teachers the school employs. When visiting potential preschools for your child, make sure to inquire about the level of training each of the teachers has received in early childhood education. You will also want to observe how the teachers interact with the students. Are they warm and engaging or cold and aloof? Do the children appear to be properly supervised? A visit to the preschool you are considering will help you in answering these and other questions you may have about its teachers. Visit Project Appleseed for a list of helpful questions to ask the director about its teachers and program.

Developmentally Appropriate
Another imperative characteristic of a good preschool program is its attention to children’s development. A good preschool will focus on all areas of a child’s development, including physical, social, intellectual, and emotional. Ideally, you want to have your little one attend a school that has plenty of activities to aid in developing large motor skills, opportunities for children to interact and work/play with other children to develop their social skills, engaging activities/teachers to promote intellectual development and a safe environment in which to express and learn about their emotions. All of these developmental tasks should be age appropriate; in other words, you want activities and environments that don’t set the bar too low for your kid but also challenge without being unduly frustrating. An article on the NAEYC For Families website states, “In quality preschool programs, the curriculum, teaching strategies, and environment reflect research-based knowledge about the way children develop and learn.”

Although education really falls under intellectual development that was discussed above, it will be beneficial to explore this aspect a bit more. While a preschool does provide supervision and childcare to its students, it is not primarily a babysitting agency. When choosing a preschool for your little one, you want to look for a place that will stimulate and challenge your child intellectually. When visiting potential preschools, make sure there are learning opportunities everywhere! Books, hands on activities, music, teachers who are asking thought provoking questions, etc. Yes, your preschooler may not be ready for a highly structured environment, but his preschool should combine play with learning.

Choosing a preschool can be a daunting task, but it will yield great returns! Remember that you are your child’s advocate and don’t hesitate to ask local preschool directors pointed questions. A good teacher/director will not be intimidated by a parent who has done their research and knows what he or she wants for their child.

Tell us what you value in a preschool! Leave us your comments below!