Choosing the perfect preschool for your child is obviously a huge decision and might even be one of the most important decisions you must make early on in your child’s life. If you are based in Orem, Utah, and you are looking for a preschool that is going to meet your needs, we feel that you and your child will be best served by the preschool programs we offer here at Kids On The Move.
Nevertheless, we also believe it is important for parents to choose a preschool option that works for them. We also know the best parental decisions are informed decisions. That’s why we are going to talk today about some of the most important things you should look for when you are about to send your child to preschool.
If you are weighing up a few options and you want to make sure you find a preschool that is going to meet your needs and offer your child the absolute best day, you are in the right place. Each factor discussed below should be considered when making your final decisions, so read on and find out more.
GOOD COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE SCHOOL AND PARENTS
First, you want to ensure that the preschool you will be sending your child will communicate with you as a parent in an open and honest way. As a parent, you will want to know about anything that is going on, whether it is good or bad. If you are not getting that communication from the preschool and their preschool teachers, it can be frustrating, and you will not have much information about how your child is doing and anything that they might be struggling with as they get used to preschool for the first time.
HOW SECURE THE LOCATION IS
Security and emergency procedures are vital for any preschool location. There, of course, needs to be a plan in place to deal with a variety of potential threats and emergency situations. And as a parent, you will want to ensure your child will be protected in such an emergency. Again, any good preschool will provide information about security and the steps taken to keep your kids safe when they are at preschool.
THE WAY IN WHICH THE CLASSES ARE DIVIDED UP
It is a beneficial idea to learn a little about how the preschool classes are divided up before you send your child there. Are they split by age or something else? There are methods of mixing classes in different ways to provide the best experience possible for each child. This is the kind of basic information that you will need to have and consider in order to make a more informed decision about which preschool is likely to be the best one for your child. So, make sure you find that out; any good preschool will be open to providing such information.
THE SIZE OF THE CLASSES
The size of the classes and how many preschool teachers are available is key information as well. Smaller class sizes with plenty of teachers available per pupil is what most parents are looking for. You should ask these questions, gather the relevant information and compare the options to find the preschool with adequate class sizes. Exceptionally large classes and not enough preschool teachers available means less one on one care and interaction, and potential safety issues too.
A FOCUS ON SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL GUIDANCE FOR YOUR KIDS
Different preschools have different focuses. But more parents are looking for preschools that offer more focus on social and emotional guidance for their kids. It is not just about playing and running around, and it is also not about being harsh with discipline and studying at an early age. Instead, it is important to focus on social and emotional matters so your child can grow up and develop in the most positive way possible. That is what we believe in here at Kids On The Move. So, if you are looking for a preschool in Orem with those focuses, look no further.
Stimulating activities that make your child think and engage in ways that they do not have the chance to in other settings is also key. You want your kids to feel like they are learning things in a fun way and trying new things all the time when they attend preschool. It is important to talk to the preschool teachers you are thinking of sending your child to and learn more about the different stimulating activities available. It is best to look for a preschool that offers a wide variety of learning options.
HOW THE CHILDREN’S HEALTH IS SUPPORTED
It is obviously important to think about your child’s health and wellbeing and how these things will be supported when they are at preschool. If your child has a particular health condition, for example, you will need assurances that those matters will be taken care of and taken seriously by the teachers who will be looking after them at the preschool each day. You will also want to think about what the kids are doing during the day and how their general wellbeing will be protected. These are things you can talk to the teachers about.
THE PRESCHOOL TEACHERS
The teachers also need to show love and care for the children they are working with, and the patience needed when looking after young children all day. Talking to them and getting a feel for them as human beings and their approach to their jobs should make you feel a lot more comfortable about sending your child to be looked after by them. If you are not sure about what you hear when you talk to their potential future preschool teachers, you might want to look elsewhere.
AN ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY
The actual preschool environment itself will tell you a lot about whether it is somewhere you would be happy to send your child. If you get a bad first impression and you are unsure, ask questions and find out more. If you are still not sure, it might not be the place for them. It needs to be the kind of environment that encourages play, positivity, and creativity. It should be a place where they feel settled and able to express themselves. The available resources will decide if that’s the case or not.
THE ATMOSPHERE AND VIBE OF THE CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT
The general atmosphere and vibe that you get when you visit the classroom environment where your child will be spending their time when you send them to a particular preschool also matters. Ideally, you should try to visit during the day when the children are there, and the teachers are working. That way, you can see for yourself how the environment operates and what kind of atmosphere there is. It is hard to really judge a preschool until you have visited it and seen for yourself how it functions.
RULES AND EXPECTATIONS
Of course, rules and expectations around discipline matter when your child starts attending preschool. They must get used to following rules as preschool prepares them for kindergarten and their later school years. So, getting used to following the rules and doing as their teachers ask them is all part of the wider learning experience. At the same time, preschool realistically should not be as strict and structured as what they will experience when they get older.
OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN THROUGH PLAY
There should be lots of opportunities for them to learn through play. This is something that should be generally structured, but also unstructured enough for them to feel free and to experiment with play. When your child has the freedom to do that and can communicate and develop their interpersonal skills through playing with other kids and trying new types of play, it can only be positive for them as they develop and grow up. So, make sure these kinds of opportunities are offered at the preschool you choose.
THE PRESCHOOL’S OVERALL PHILOSOPHY
It’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the overall philosophy that a preschool has before you decide to send your child there. The more you know about their approach to learning and guidance for the children they work with, the easier you will find it to have a full understanding of what you should expect and what your child should expect. You might have your own ideas about how preschool should function, so you might want to align those expectations with the overall approach and philosophy taken by the preschool.
DISTANCE AND ACCESSIBILITY
As a parent, you’ll be responsible for getting your child to and from preschool each day they’re there, so it’s important to think about issues around accessibility and convenience. If you’ve found a preschool you like but it’s quite a long journey from the family home, it might not be the right option for you. There can be a lot of stress and pressure that comes with fitting long journeys into your already busy schedule. So be sure to think about these kinds of logistical matters before you make a final decision.
ITS REPUTATION AMONG PARENTS
Asking other parents what they think about the preschool that their child attends is another beneficial idea. There is value in communicating with other parents and discussing these things with them. If a particular preschool does not have a good reputation among parents, that suggests you might want to stay away from it. But if you know parents in the area that love a particular preschool, that might give you more confidence in terms of sending your child there. So, do not be afraid to ask the parents in your community that have had preschool experience.
SUITABILITY FOR YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE
Different children have different learning styles, and although your child is still young, you might already be aware of how they are more receptive to taking on new information. It is important that the school you ultimately choose makes it possible for different learning styles and ways of receiving information to be accommodated. If these things are not accommodated properly, it could hold your child back in some way, or at least potentially cause them to not have the best possible preschool experience.
WHETHER PARENTS CAN GET INVOLVED
If you are a parent who likes to get involved and play a part in things, you will need to research whether there are opportunities for parent involvement in the preschool you eventually choose for them. Maybe you want to volunteer and help at events and fundraisers held by the preschool. It can be an effective way to meet other parents and to get to know your child’s preschool teachers a little better. If that is something important to you, find out what kind of volunteer opportunities are available.
YOUR OWN GUT FEELING
Finally, you should make sure that you pay attention to your gut feelings. If it is telling you something, it is important to listen and think things through. This is not a decision that needs to be rushed, so if you feel that your gut feeling is wrong about a particular preschool, take a little more time to think about it and compare it to some of the other options in your area. Sometimes your gut feeling is telling you something important, even if you do not realize it right away.
Here at Kids On The Move, we are passionate about offering your child the care and guidance they need as they begin their preschool journey. If you want to get started before preschool, check out our Early Intervention Program. To find out more about our other programs we offer and what both you and your child can expect from them, take a closer look at the information provided here on our website. And please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.