Is your child almost ready for preschool? You’re likely looking for the next steps to find the top preschools in your area. It pays to start your search early, probably earlier than you think! Larger cities recommend that you begin to apply as soon as your child is born. Maybe ridiculous, but if you want your child to have the best, that’s how it is!
Our suggestion is to identify as many promising schools as you can and apply to all of them. That way, if you don’t get your first choice, you can rest assured knowing their backups are good too. But how do you identify the top preschools? To find the best school for your child, we’ve compiled some information to make your search easier.
How To Identify The Top Preschools In Your Area
Obviously, the primary focus of any preschool or childcare provider should be to ensure that your child’s basic needs are met. However, preschools will typically also focus on teaching your children new skills and preparing them for kindergarten and future learning.
There are several factors you’ll need to consider, including half-day or full-day options, location, and the type of program you’re looking for.
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Read on for a few tips that will hopefully connect you to the top preschools near you.
Identify Your Priorities
The first thing you should do is sit down and decide your priorities. For example, should you choose a school close to your workplace, or is one closer to home more convenient to you?
Consider the curriculum your school provides. Do you want it to include activities like outdoor playtime and dancing? Maybe you have a specific learning style in mind for your child. Write everything down, so you have a list to refer to as you evaluate different preschools in your area.
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Do Some Research and Ask For Recommendations
Once you’ve nailed down your wish list or must-have items, ask around to see what other people have to say. Friends and family will be able to help with that.
You can also go online and consult some experts about which schools have the best reputation. PreK.com is a free, easy-to-use online tool that sets you up with a Family Adviser to help you find the perfect childcare solution.
When you need an easy way to find childcare and preschool options in your area, and you want to save money while you’re at it, then PreK.com is the solution you need.
How To Spot A Well-Run School
There are several traits that all well-run top preschools will have:
- First, great preschools will have positive student/teacher relationships. Pay attention to how the staff talks to the children and other staff members. Every interaction should be friendly and upbeat.
- Family involvement is also super important. The best preschools have plans in place to keep the family engaged with the school. When everyone is involved, your child will do better, the teachers feel more supported, and as a result, everyone can work together for the development of your child.
- Top preschools have structure, meaning they follow a specific philosophy or curriculum with detailed and clear guidelines for addressing behavior.
- Well-run schools have discipline policies that emphasize positive approaches to teaching children new skills. In addition, they’ll have strategies in place to help promote good behavior like classroom rules, consistent routines, social-emotional lessons, and more.
How To Spot A Preschool That Needs Work
There are also a few things you should watch out for in schools that might need work or simply might not be the best choice for your child:
- Be wary of programs that do not implement a research-based or consistent curriculum. The program should be aligned to state learning standards for preschool so that your child will be prepared for ongoing education.
- Be hesitant about programs with highly strict discipline strategies, especially when they don’t have solutions to help children correct their behavior and replace it with new skills.
- Look out for high turnover rates. It’s not a good sign if people are constantly quitting. You want to look for teachers that have the proper training and certifications, and support from the school.
- Lastly, be cautious of schools where the classrooms feel dark, dirty, overly cramped, or highly unorganized. Kids need space to learn and grow, and they should get plenty of sunshine too!
Always Schedule A Visit To The Top Preschools
Though it’s always a good idea to get some of those preliminary questions out of the way over the phone, the only way to get a real sense of what a top preschool has to offer is to schedule a visit yourself.
While you’re there, ask the director about hours, vacation schedules, teaching philosophies, discipline, and nutrition. It might also be a good idea to get a daily schedule or a calendar of events.
Observe how the kids behave, and how the teachers interact with them. You want them to be friendly, caring, encouraging, but also authoritative. All the top preschools have a challenging and fun curriculum, experienced and satisfied teachers, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Trust your gut feeling and take notice of how people answer your questions. At the end of the day, you want the preschool you choose to be encouraging, clean, and safe.
Closing Thoughts On Finding The Top Preschools
Ultimately, which preschool you choose comes down to you. It’s a personal decision, but one you should feel comfortable with. If you’re feeling upbeat and hopeful after visiting a school, and you love the idea of your child learning and growing there, that’s probably the school for you!
Remember that many factors go into choosing a great school, so make sure you make a list of the make-or-break items. Of course, when you break it down, you just want your kid to be happy and healthy.
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Need a tried and true way to find the top preschools in your area? We suggest letting PreK.com do the hard work for you. Learn more about how they can quickly and easily find the best childcare options for your family.
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