For new parents, choosing a preschool isn’t easy, especially if you’re living in an urban environment with lots of different options to choose from. But even if you live in a small town with only a few different options, you’ll want to find a day care company in cedar park or a nearby area that fits with your priorities. Preschool may not focus on a specific educational curriculum like Kindergarten or grade school, but it can still create a positive learning environment for your child before they start school. Finding the right combination of great teachers, stimulating activities, and healthy routines can be a challenge no matter where you are. That’s why it’s always best to figure out what you want in your ideal preschool or daycare and go from there. If you’re trying to find a preschool option that’s right for you and your kids, here are some guidelines to follow.
1. Check Out the Staff
While you might not have a lot of choices when it comes to the kinds of teachers your kids get in grade school, preschool is different. You have a chance to look in on classes, see different teaching styles, and judge which is best for your child. While each teacher has different interests and priorities, certain schools, such as Montessori schools, have a more strict curriculum that focuses on the arts or sciences. Rather than assuming that every teaching style or staff is the same, spend some time sitting on a class and observing the teachers in their natural habitat. Do the kids look stimulated and interested in the subject? How is discipline handled? Once you get a feel for the different teaching styles, you can make a more educated decision.
2. Ask About Activities
Some schools are more activity-oriented than others. For instance, while many schools will only give the kids a short recess to run around in, other schools build their entire curriculums around being outdoors and engaging in physical activity. Preschool isn’t just about dropping your kids off while you’re at work. Ideally, you’ll want your child to get a well-balanced education along with a bit of playtime thrown in. If your kid is going to stay cooped up all day, you might want to find a preschool that’s a bit more focused on outdoor activity.
3. Keep Tabs on Diet and Exercise
Diet is another important consideration that you don’t want to leave until the last minute to think about. You might have found the perfect preschool in every respect, but if you know they’ll be feeding your kids unhealthy snacks and sugary juice boxes that will leave them extremely hyper by the time you pick them up, it’s probably not the right choice. Ask about the different snack options at your school of choice, not just in terms of healthy choices, but any extra provisions they’ve made for kids with allergies or a limited diet. Some preschools will ask you to pack your own snacks in the case of a special diet or allergy, but ideally, this is something your school will take care of. You don’t want to have to spend the extra time packing a lunch every day if you don’t have to.
4. Talk to the People in Charge
After you’ve spent some time observing classes and looking into different school types, it’s time to compile a list of questions and start talking to the principals of the handful of schools you’re really interested in. Getting a bit of face time with the person or people in charge of the school will help you get to the root of more specific questions you might have about teaching philosophy, curriculum, and other concerns. For instance, what would your school do in the case of an emergency? What happens if a child gets sick? How are children disciplined? Which holidays are observed? What happens in the case of a conflict between students? The more specific you can be on your list of questions, the better.
5. Speak with Other Parents
The best way to get an inside sense of how things work in your chosen school is to ask the other parents. If you have friends who have recommended a school to you, or if you notice a few parents coming around at pickup, ask them about how the school has met (or failed) their expectations. Feel free to set up some coffee dates to talk to different people about their satisfaction with the school. The more people they talk to, the more rounded a sense you’ll have of the school’s priorities.