The benefits of pre kindergarten or preschool have been so extensively documented that there’s really no sense in debating whether early childhood education is worth investing in. The question, instead, should be which early childhood education venues will offer your child (and you) the best experience. Of course, you should learn more about a school’s early education philosophy and ask about the teachers. But there are some more practical questions parents sometimes fail to ask when screening prospective schools. Here are five you shouldn’t forget:
- What’s the Potty Training Situation?
Some preschools will change diapers, some require children to be potty trained and some will even help with the potty training process. Depending on your child’s age and personality, you’ll want to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for disaster in the diaper department.
- How Is Naptime Scheduled and Enforced?
Napping is healthy for preschool-aged children, and you should look for a school that includes it lest your child come home cranky. But a scheduled naptime of longer than two hours can interfere with restful sleep at night.
- What Does Playtime Look Like?
Many preschools use what’s called a play-based curriculum to teach important concepts. But dig a little deeper into how, exactly, play works at a prospective school. Is there both cooperative and individual play? Guided and free play? Indoor and outdoor play? You probably want to see a healthy mix of all these types.
- How Is Child Misbehavior Handled?
The simple truth is that children misbehave. Their social awareness is still in development, and it’s normal that they’ll sometimes break rules and need to be corrected. But you should make sure you’re comfortable with how discipline is handled. It’s appropriate to tell children when their behavior is unacceptable, but telling children that they themselves are bad can have negative long-term effects.
- What Does Your School Offer That Others Don’t?
Depending on your various reasons for choosing a preschool, the “right” answer to this question could vary widely. Some preschools might offer special subjects, such as Japanese, while others might cater to children with learning disabilities, and still others might put a focus on arts and music. And you should also keep in mind that you can weigh in more practical advantages, such as a nearby location or convenient hours.
What other questions should parents ask before choosing a preschool? Share your thoughts in the comments.