Choosing the Right Child Care: How to Find the Perfect Fit
Finding the right preschool for your children seems simple enough. Theoretically, all you need to do is find an open spot at the one nearest to you and the job is done. In reality, it is a lot more complicated than that. You must take things such as curriculum, environment, location, and even staff into consideration.
When making this decision, it is important to do your research and find out what is best for you and your child. Preschool may not seem like that big of a deal, but it lays the foundation for the rest of your child’s academic career. It is here where they will get their first taste of what it is like to be in an academic setting.
KNOW THE TYPES OF CHILD CARE
When it comes to preschools, there isn’t one stereotypical model anymore. There is a wide range of options to choose from that suit the needs of both parent and the child. That is where your own personal research comes into play.
If you are looking for a preschool where there is a lot of parent involvement, cooperative preschools are the way to go. Tuition in these preschools are often lower as a result of fundraising goals that are set for families throughout the year. Because of how much parents are encouraged to be involved, the adult-to-child ratio is higher which means that children are getting the attention that they need at this young age to grow and learn. Parents, though, are expected to invest a lot more time into their child’s schooling, so this option may not be best for those who aren’t as available.
For these parents, they may want to look into child care center preschools. These preschools are able to offer parents a program that takes care of a child’s needs throughout the whole day. This is perfect for parents who have a very busy schedule and don’t have much time to be as involved. It also allows parents who work full-time jobs to be able to work comfortably knowing that their child is safe and learning.
A more unique and innovative option are Montessori preschools. These types of schools typically have programs that start at birth and go through high school. In these programs, there is an emphasis on self-directed activity where children make choices in their learning that are creative and unique. This encourages a high level of hands-on learning and collaboration. Teachers and staff at
Montessori preschools are oftentimes highly trained in guiding children through this process.
TALK TO YOUR CHILD
Since most preschoolers are between the ages of three and five, choosing the right school isn’t as simple as asking them where they’d like to go. At this point in their lives, they don’t really have the level of maturity to make these decisions on their own. That means that parents must sit down and guide the conversation.
Talk to them about school and what they will be expected to do there. This will help prepare them for daily life at preschool so they aren’t completely shocked by the change of environment and responsibilities.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
After you have this conversation with your child, it is now up to you to research the different preschools in the area, their curriculums, the tuition, and if it is a good fit for your child. It is also important to consider your needs as a parent and how involved you would like to be. There are countless amounts of resources at your disposal, and if you have any questions, always feel free to call the school and ask them directly.
TOUR THE CENTER
When you have ultimately narrowed down your list, take some time to visit these schools with your child. This helps you get to know the faculty and staff while getting a feel of the environment.
For your child, it allows them to feel involved in the process and develop a sense of familiarity if it turns out to be the school you choose.
At the end of the day, trust your gut when it comes to choosing the best fit for your future scholar. Always encourage your child to share their feelings during the process so they can do the best they can in school.