Looking for the parameters to select an ideal preschool? Choosing a good preschool for your child is like laying the bedrock of good values, discipline, etiquettes, and education for coming times. Those days have passed when selecting the right preschool for your toddler was a trivial task. But in the present era, it is one of the high-priority decisions for paragon parents.
Some parents put a wrong interpretation and fail to distinguish between preschools and playschools. They consider preschool as a synonym of playschool.
Playschool vs Preschool
A playschool is an informal group of 2-3 years old toddlers which aims to introduce them to strangers (other children) through play methods. No formal education is introduced at this stage apart from few rhymes, introduction of shapes, colors, strokes, etc. On the contrary, a preschool plays a vital role in a child’s life. It introduces and educates them on social, emotional, physical and intellectual skills. Apart from learning alphabets, numbers, shapes and colors; they also learn and develop those important skills which aid and succor them for the lifetime.
These skills are:
- Listening skills
- Fine motor skills
- Social skills
- Exploring new interests
- Resolving conflicts on their own
Tips to choose a good preschool for your child
Do you know what should parents look for while choosing a preschool? Selecting a preschool for your toddler is overwhelming and strenuous as well. You have to evaluate all the pros and cons of the institute which is going to set up the first milestone in the journey of education of your child, and where the ‘star of your eyes’ is going to spend his happy hours every day. Here’s a list of things to consider when you are selecting a preschool. All the parameters to select the right preschool for toddler (as mentioned below) are based upon the self-experiences of a team of mothers and experts’ opinions.
- Understand your child – First of all, you need to understand the weaknesses and requirements of your child. Analyze that what makes them nervous or uncomfortable. Make a brief list of the things and tasks for which your child is dependent upon you, e.g. if he is unable to hold a spoon, unable to put his cookie into his mouth, unable to pull down his pants or if he is not fully potty-trained. Now analyze that up to what extent his needs would be accomplished by the school staff. It is fine if the staff is assisting your child up to 60% or 70% only. Your child will learn the rest of the 30%- 40% on his own while following his peers and teachers.
- Preschool or Preschool plus Daycare – Preschool and daycare centers operate under almost similar guidelines. You need to decide the number of hours for which you want your child’s exposure with another world. If you a working mom from 9 to5, then daycare is a better choice. Most of the daycare centers offer learning activities as well like preschools. Such preschool plus daycare centers are more advantageous for children in diapers. Such centers provide extra exposure to your child with other children from a different age groups.
- Talk to other parents – Share a word of mouth with your neighbors, friends, friends of friends and relatives. Ask their opinion about different preschools in your shortlist and the preschool where they had sent or will like to send their own child.
- Teachers’ credentials – Teacher is the main person with whom your child will interact in the school. An ideal teacher provides motherly feeling to her all students. Check the teacher-student ratio, teacher’s qualification, experience, her way of interacting with students, how she deals with little kids, etc. Understand your toddler’s psyche and consider whether he/she will be comfortable with such teachers or not.
- Peep into the classroom – Take a trip to the shortlisted preschool and get a glimpse of their classrooms. Are they ventilated enough? How are the teachers dealing with the students? How are the kids behaving with each other? How are the maids helping the kids to pull down their pants or to use the washrooms? Is the bathroom child-friendly? Is anyone helping them to finish their food? How are they learning and responding to the school activities? Does the school have security devices indoors and outdoors?
- Distance – Distance is also an important parameter while choosing preschool for your kid. Always prefer a preschool closer to your location otherwise the toddler will start feeling exhausted within 1-2 hours after reaching school. However, if you think that the preschool which you have finalized is exceptionally good and long distance is the only drawback; then you can ignore this downside. Even moon has spots on it.
- Methodology – Check the curriculum followed by the school. Preschools follow different philosophies of education. Some are based on ‘playway’ method, while others are based on ‘learn when you do’ method. You might be comfortable with any curriculum approach, but it is never wrong to enquire about the stuffs your child is going to learn.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Which age is appropriate for preschool?
Though there is no hard and fast rule to determine the best age for taking admission in preschool, most of the preschools in India open their admission for preschoolers from the age of 2.5years. But this does not mean that you must send your child to preschool as soon as he/she turns 3. Every child develops in his own unique way. Some kids are socially, emotionally and physically more active than other kids. Thus it is wise to consider various factors and use your acumen.
What should my child know before joining preschool?
Many parents look for the things a toddler should know before joining preschool. Though experts have their own opinion on this subject matter, I have a different thought upon this. Being a mother, I don’t think that there is any preschool skills’ checklist. As already mentioned, each child develops differently with his own social and emotional skills. Kids have a tendency that they start learning on their own as soon as they come down from mother’s lap and interact with strangers of their age group and a well-spoken mentor. However, experts suggest this checklist to prepare your toddler for preschool.
- Recognize basic shapes and colors.
- Knows and responds to his name.
- Able to express his basic needs like drinking water, urge to pee and poop, any pain, etc.
- Follow simple instructions like sit down, stand up, stand in a queue, etc.
- Speak clear enough to be understood by outsiders.
Which curriculum is best for preschool?
Presently, there are different curriculum models for preschools. In India, popularly followed preschool curriculum is Montessori. Some newly opened preschools are now following Waldorf and Reggio Emilia. Nowadays, preschools with a brand name are developing their own curriculum after sifting out the best out of the different preschool curriculum approaches with the help of experts.
What questions should I ask before selecting a preschool?
Parents should enquire about following aspects to their child’s teacher-
- What is the accreditation of the school?
- What is school’s educational philosophy and which curriculum is followed?
- What are teachers’ credentials?
- How will they assist children while using washroom? If your child is not potty-trained, then how will their staff assist him/ her?
- What is student-teacher ratio?
- What will your child learn by the end of the session?
- How will their staff assist the child during mid-day meal break?
- If the school is providing food, then check the nutritional approach of the authorities.
- Discuss your ward’s weaknesses and ask them that how can they help you to overcome these flaws?
- What measures do they follow for child’s safety?
- Do they have CCTV camera supervision indoors and outdoors?
- Discuss about pediatric first aid and their approach to handle any squabble between pupils.
How to select good preschool for children with learning disabilities?
Mental retardation or Intellectual Disability (ID) is a commonly seen disorder. Intellectual Developmental Disability and Learning Disability doesn’t create much hindrance during the pre-schooling years of toddlers. Every city and state has some good special preschools for kids with disabilities. Such preschools are meant for children with special educational needs and they understand their special requirements. They have various tools and techniques to meet the educational needs of toddlers with autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADHD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder) and processing deficit. Mainstream schools also have special units to manage their special needs. But it is advisable to send your pupil to the special school as they have a better understanding towards the additional requirements of their students. Educationists in such schools are specialists in their area, and they support the pupil with greater efficiency.
Tips to choose a special preschool for children with intellectual disability
Apart from the above-mentioned list, here are some additional things you should consider:
- The school should have hired various specialists like nurses, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, etc.
- The classrooms should be equipped with special gears to meet the special needs of your child.
- Equipments like therapy pools, sensory rooms and adjustable gears for outdoor activities would be an add-on.
- Higher ratio of teacher and students.
- A preschool with CCTV access allows you to keep a constant eye upon your toddler while he is away from home.
Post your comments below, and kindly let us know which preschool you finally decided for your child in your city. We shall also be glad to know about any other parameter you considered while selecting a preschool for your ward.