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Crucial questions every parent should ask when choosing a preschool

The right environment can provide your child with a love for learning! Ready to drop your child into pre-school but unsure of whether it is the right environment? Read on to know about what to look out for!

As a parent, your priority is always to ensure that your child gets the best of everything. This may require studying labels all day before investing in a product, discussing baby food and nutrition with every parent you know, or having the doctor’s number on your speed dial—you will always be willing to do anything for your little one. Needless to say, educating your child and providing them with the best resources and teachers is something that is a top priority for any parent. How does one even get to choosing a preschool—a place where you will have to leave your child alone all day? It is both exciting, because it is your baby’s first step toward becoming the prodigy you know they are, and also terrifying, because what if you choose wrong? As a parent, you are the best judge of what is good for your child, and you are bound to make the right decision. Here is a list of some of the questions you need to consider when choosing a preschool for your child—it could be the make or break factor.

1. How does the school handle discipline?

The first step in the ‘How to choose preschool’ guide, is to look at the school’s way of handling crises. Preschools are meant to prepare your child for regular school—a place that expects some social etiquette and a certain amount of familiarity with the social code expected of any human being.  As a result, it becomes a training ground for your child’s amalgamation into society. Every preschool teaches kids manners, etiquette, good behaviour and of course, imbibes them with some academic information. What becomes important is the manner in which they are taught this—if kids are encouraged to learn and are given positive motivation, they grow to be more open, perceptive beings. Being taught discipline through fear of punishment has been shown to have a negative impact on a child’s curiosity and willingness to try new things.

Further, the amount of patience and effort teachers and the school’s philosophy is willing to put into its children, tells you a lot about the school. This should definitely be a criterion when choosing a preschool. The educational philosophy of the school also becomes an important area to take note of when doing this.

2. How much pre-knowledge is expected of your child?

You want your child to do well and to be challenged intellectually. However, you also want your child to be comfortable in their environment and have fun, without having to worry about not being good enough. Try and understand how much your child is already expected to know before entering a preschool – if they are inadequately equipped with this knowledge, they may retire into a shell which could impact their own self confidence. Look into factors like potty training, learning the alphabet, certain word-meaning associations, food etiquette etc,—how much does your child know as opposed to how much they are expected to know. You can then find the right fit accordingly when choosing a preschool.

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3. What is the educational background and portfolio of the faculty?

How are the teachers? Where are they from and what prior work experience have they had? You want your child to have teachers who will motivate them and be enthusiastic about their own jobs. For this to happen, you need to make sure that the teachers are good at what they do and if they are doing this out of a passion for their work and not out of compulsion. Their attitudes and behaviour towards the children will be largely dependent on this, and hence their educational backgrounds must be something your decision is dependent on. If you are wondering how to choose a preschool, the first eliminating factor should be the quality of teachers in the place.

4. Does the school encourage play and have the facilities to develop your child’s motor skills?

Aside from classroom learning, children learn when playing with their peers. Does the school believe in education through play and game, and if so, do they have enough facilities to do so? It has been said that children learn a lot through spaces and begin to associate different spaces with different emotions and activities. For this to happen, you need to ensure that the school actually has enough space and has sufficient outdoor activities. Actions like stringing beans, arts and crafts, or clay modelling test your child’s motor abilities and imbibe them with the required skills for the same. The development of motor skills helps ensure all-round excellence and general well-being.

5. How much pressure does the school put on the children and how much time do they allow for relaxation?

Another important factor when choosing a preschool is their emphasis on learning. While we all agree it is important for your children to learn and for their skills to be honed, we need to remember that this is a pre-school. Your child should not feel pressurised and begin to hate school work as a result of this. Kids need to be nurtured to enjoy learning about things rather than being forced to do so. A way to evaluate this could be by looking at the amount of time the preschool allots to relaxation activities like sleep and play. Do they have a regular nap time, are they encouraged to eat by themselves and are they allowed to actually nap or is picking up a hobby during these times favoured more? How much are they allowed to simply play around and have fun, as opposed to being ‘educated’? It is necessary to consider these questions before choosing a preschool for your little one. Most preschools present a similar vision and mission statement, but the onus is on you to do your due research before picking a preschool for your child. You want them to have the best experience and be taken care of when doing so, and these questions are ways for you to ensure this happens. So be patient and take into consideration these multiple factors and make a well-informed decision! It can be a wonderful experience. In the meantime, be sure to visit mfine for all your pediatric concerns regarding your precious little one. Be sure to also check our complete vaccination schedule for your child.

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