How to Choose the Right Preschool

by Jennifer Landrieu

130218For the last month, I’ve been happily taking prospective parents on tours of our school, showing them our facilities, telling them about our program, and discussing our policies.

If you’re a new-to-Preschool parent, and beginning to schedule tours, perhaps you’d find this list helpful…

Location: How far is it from your home?

Cost: How many days/hours? What does it include? Are special interest classes offered at an additional rate? Any discounts offered? Any “need-based” scholarships available?

Religious Affiliation: Find out how the religious beliefs are incorporated into the program. If you’re a member of the church/temple, etc. you may be offered a discount!

Class Size/Teacher-Child Ratio: The lower the number the better, more personalized attention. (NJ State ratios ~ 2.5-4 years 1:10, 4 years 1:12, 5 years 1:15)

Teacher Certification: Do the teachers hold education degrees/certificates? How many teachers are certified in Pediatric CPR/First Aid?

Teacher Turn-Over Rate: How long have the teachers been with the school?

Potty-Training Requirements: Fully potty-trained, Pull-Ups, or Diapers okay?

Playground: Is the equipment new? What type of ground cover? Fenced in?

Classroom: Colorful/inviting? Centers? Windows? Carpeting? Quality/Quantity of toys, etc. available? Where do children play on a rainy day?

Program: Curriculum? Themes? Geared more toward socialization or academics?

Parent/Teacher Communication: When are teacher conferences held? Weekly/Monthly newsletters? Parent information boards? Is there a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization)?

Discipline Policy: How does the school approach discipline issues?

Closing/Delayed Schedules: Closed the same days as public school? How are parents notified?

Allergies: How does the school handle children with allergies? Nut-free facility? Are allergies posted in the classrooms?

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