When the time comes to send your little one to preschool, you have a lot of choices. There are smaller, church-affiliated preschools, public preschools run as a part of local school systems, and even preschools associated with daycare centers. Regardless of which type of setting you feel is best for your child, it's important to visit the schools you're considering in person. This not only gives you a chance to see the facilities, but also the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how the preschool operates. Here are four key questions you should always ask when touring a preschool.
What is the educational background of the staff?
There are no strict requirements as to the educational background of preschool staff in most areas. Some preschools will employ people with little to no background in child education, which others require advanced credentials. While there may be preschools where the staff are excellent in spite of having less formal education, you can be more confident that your child will learn and be properly cared for in an environment where the teachers and staff are formally trained. Make sure they are also CPR and First Aid Certified in case there's an accident.
Does the school take a structured or unstructured approach to education?
Some preschools aim to teach children in a more structured manner. They may have them sit and practice writing, gather around a table to recite memorized poems, or listen to educational lectures. Other schools take a less structured approach, providing the tools and guidance for children to explore and learn independently. You may prefer one approach or the other based on your child's personality or your philosophy on life, so make sure the school you choose takes your preferred approach.
How large are the classes?
Generally, the smaller the student to teacher ratio, the more individualized attention your child will get. If a preschool has a very high student to teacher ratio, such as 15:1, it may not be the best choice for a child who is very active or constantly needs a lot of feedback from an adult. On the other hand, if you have a very independent and quiet child, this ratio may be perfectly suited.
What are the potty training requirements?
If your child is fully potty trained, then you do not need to worry about this question. However, if they are like most preschools and still struggle with toilet training to some degree, then it's important to know the school's requirements. Some preschools may not be willing to assist with toileting and toilet training at all, while others may be willing to do so. Also ask what the requirements are in regard to providing a change of clothes in case of an accident.
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