Signs of a Great Preschool Part Three

We’ve discussed the signs of a great preschool that deal with facility and curriculum. Our final post in this series will discuss a preschool’s policies and staff. Sensible policies and an excellent staff are crucial to providing your child with a wonderful first school experience.

Enrollment Each school will have it’s own way of handling enrollment and the state places their own requirements on facilities as well, but there are some important things to look out for.  Ask what type of paperwork does your school require?  You’ll want to make sure that the school is collecting children’s immunization records and health histories, multiple emergency contacts (just in case!) and lists of people who are authorized to pick-up your child and people who are not authorized to pick-up.

In case of illness Don’t forget to ask a school what their policy is for attendance at school when a sick becomes ill.  You’ll want to make sure sick children are to remain home for at least 24 hours after symptoms subside to prevent exposure of the illness to other children.

In case of emergency Does the facility have evacuation procedures posted?  Do they practice these procedures with the children?  Of course, you never want to have these policies to be used, but it vitally important they are in place!

Discipline When talking with the director and teachers, ask what their discipline plans are.  Do they work to be proactive in heading off behaviors?  Will they attempt to redirect a misbehaving child?  What will they do when these strategies are not helping a child who is making poor choices?  You will probably hear a wide-variety of responses, but you’ll want to make sure adults are providing opportunities for children to calm down and to think about their choices.  Rather than the teacher using language that makes the child feel like he or she is bad, make sure they use language that labels the child’s actions and choices as inappropriate, and not that the child is a bad boy or girl.

Staff Qualifications Don’t hesitate to ask for the credentials and experience of the staff members at a school you are considering.  Are staff members trained in Early Childhood Education?  Do they have experience working with children?  This is essential for a great preschool.  You want to be assured the those entrusted to care for your child are both knowledgeable and experienced in working with young children.

Staff Interactions with Children Spend some time at the preschool you are considering.  Listen to how the adults interact with the children.  Do you hear warm and nurturing interactions with the children?  Are the adults supporting the children’s learning and fostering their independence?  These are all signs that you have found a great preschool, with a great staff!

A final word… Trust your instincts!  Of course, you want to do your homework and ask questions, but don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.  Many parents happy with their child’s preschool experience say they knew they found a great preschool right from the first visit.  We wish you the best as you find a great preschool for your child!

Missed our earlier posts? Click here for part one and here for part two.

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