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What’s In A Preschool?

5 Key Elements In Great San Diego Preschools

Finding a preschool is easy.

In some neighborhoods there’s one on every corner.

Finding a quality preschool on the other hand, is not so easy.

preschool enrollment infographic

Image from Childrens-LearningAdventure.com

Even when you’ve done your research, looked into classroom sizes, picked a location, and chosen the program that’s best for your child there’s still lingering doubts that you’ve made the right decision.

With nearly 500 San Diego preschools available to choose from, it’s no wonder that parents find themselves scratching their heads as they try to decide what to do.

Sure, high quality preschools are not hard to come by, but finding a high quality preschool that suits yours and your child’s needs is not always so simple. Understanding the components that make up a stellar preschool program is key to choosing the one that’s right for you. Take a look at these five areas, each just as important as the next for an optimal early education for your child

  1. The Staff
  2. The Administration
  3. The Curriculum
  4. The Community Involvement
  5. The Environment

For the best results, a preschool will utilize all of these factors to create a schooling system that operates smoothly. Yes, things like deciding between a public and private preschool, or a full or part-time school are important, too. But if you do your analysis correctly, those decisions should already be included within the five categories above. Keep this list handy as you move through your preschool appointments and you’ll find that picking a preschool is not just uncomplicated, but also downright easy to do.

preschool program info graphic

Image from Families.Naeyc.org

1. The Staff

As you head into your meetings take care to check on the staff and see how you feel about them. A parent’s intuition is first and foremost the best means for judging whether or not you believe the staff will be the right fit for your child. Keep in mind, too, that staff is more likely to be on their best behavior when they know that parents are touring the preschool facility. For this reason, I always recommend “popping in” wherever possible to keep from seeing a false representation of the school. Remember, preschool staff members are likely

Look for staff that:

  • Have attained a higher education (Bachelors, Masters, ect…)
  • Have credentials in the specific program that is taught in the preschool
  • Have experience and training in the preschool program

2. The Administration

Contrary to what you may think, the administration is not the same as the staff. Where the staff interacts daily with your children, the administration may never be seen. Yet, despite their cloak and dagger routines, members of the administration play an important role in your child’s day-to-day education. Be sure that the administration is active in the schooling of their preschoolers to the point that they know what needs to be fixed before a parent does. The administration, though busy, should be more than just the paperwork behind the scenes. Rather, they should be active participants in ensuring a successful learning environment for children.

Look for administration that:

  • Actively engage with their students
  • Perform staff evaluations consistently throughout the year
  • Have outlined and clear policies of what they expect from their staff on a day-to-day basis
childhood education infographic

Image from ELearningInfographics.com

3. The Curriculum

You may wonder whether or not a curriculum for a preschool program is even necessary. However, preschoolers need to reach a certain level of ability prior to enrollment into kindergarten, and your preschool’s curriculum is responsible for that. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your child will be learning throughout the course of the day, week, month, and year. Know what you can expect by the time the reach their second year of preschool, and whether they will be well on their way to their first year of kindergarten. Ask to take a peek in classrooms or to sit in on a lesson to see how the teachers handle their curriculum, or whether they operate on a random basis.

Look for a curriculum that:

  • Is age appropriate and beneficial to the child
  • Makes the child’s development the priority
  • Is approved and certified by administration
  • Is a routine that your child can handle

    preschool social skills

    Image from Childrens-LearningAdventure.com

4. The Community Involvement

Whether your school is public or private, they likely interact with the community to earn money and get things done. From holiday plays and festivals, to sponsor nights at Chipotle and Souplantation, preschools know how to get involved in the community to raise money and support their local. Make it a point to learn how community involvement will be a factor at your child’s school and how you can help.

Look for a school that:

  • Communicates with the parents to let them know about community activities for their child (sports, dance classes, after school programs, ect…)
  • Has a focus on supporting the local community through fundraisers and events
  • Encourages parent and student involvement within the community through optional service hours

preschool cognitive creativity5. The Environment

When my younger brother was in pre-school, cellphones had just had their big boom, and to prove it, a tower in the guise of a palm tree was put up outside the school. Through protesting and town meetings, my mom and the parents of that school were able to convince the city to tear it down, citing an environmental hazard for the children. Ensure that your child’s preschool is free of any risks that might have a detrimental affect on your child’s health or wellbeing.

Look for an environment that:

  • Has no health risks (such as faulty wiring, loose plaster (asbestos), ect…)
  • Closely monitors children for signs of developmental delays or disabilities
  • Follows physical and nutrition plans that are age and developmentally appropriate
  • What things do you look for in a preschool?

Comment below with your advice for new preschool parents!

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