Inside: These are the best tips for How to Pick a Preschool successfully.
Booking a preschool tour is a huge step for moms and dads. You may have been your little one's only caregivers since birth. Thinking about giving up that role is difficult for parents. You know, however, going to preschool is a great opportunity for your child to learn new things, socialize with other kids, and get ready for kindergarten.
Choosing the right preschool for your child – and your family – may seem like a daunting task. You want them to be safe, have a good time, and learn lots of new concepts. It will take up a lot of your child's day, so it needs to be a place he enjoys going.
Scheduling a preschool tour can help give you the support you need to make the right decision. You can select a school you feel confident dropping off your kiddo at every day without too much worry.
There are many questions to ask when choosing the right preschool for your child.
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What to Ask When You Tour a Preschool
You will feel like you need to ask 100 questions while on every preschool tour. It's okay, Mama, you are not alone! Every parent wants to know their child will be properly cared for when outside the home.
When it comes to questions, most preschools will have a pamphlet or booklet with most of the information you need to know. The types of questions you should ask on the tour can be broken down into the following 7 categories:
- Educational Philosophy
- Parental involvement
We will cover many sample questions you can ask in each category throughout this post, and also get you a cool printable you can take with you to make sure you remember all the questions you wanted to ask.
How do you prepare for a preschool tour?
Get ready to do a preschool tour by researching the options in your area. Look them up online, and read through their website. See if you can find them on Google, Yelp, or Facebook to see any reviews from other parents. Make sure they meet the accreditation standards set from the NAEYC
Narrow your list to your top 3-5 to begin with. Soak up as much information as you can online to make your choices easier. Some schools will have the details you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to book a preschool tour right there on their website.
You'll also want to have a list of questions that you can ask the preschool during the tour. Maybe you are interested in schools that did not have all the info you needed on their websites. You can also jot down any details you'd like clarification on.
Tips for Touring Preschools
When you tour preschools, you'll want to go in with an open mind. It's an important decision to make. Keep yourself calm and actively listen to the person leading your tour. Don't be afraid to ask questions – the more, the better!
Carry a notebook to each tour. There will be a lot of information given, and you'll want to make notes if you can't remember it all. A binder may be a good idea, so you can store any paperwork received in one place as you tour multiple preschools.
Basic questions you may want to ask the administrator during the tour include:
- How are kids divided up?
- How many children will be in my child’s class?
- What is the ratio of students to teacher?
- What training do teachers have for safety and education?
- Is everyone CPR certified?
- How are staff members screened prior to being hired?
- Who else is in the building?
- What are your operating hours?
- How do you determine snow days and when the students are off school?
- Does my child have to be potty trained to attend?
- How do you handle bathroom accidents?
- Can I bring my child in for a visit before we decide to enroll?
You will also want to get as much info as you can on the various policies the preschool has. Ask these questions to find out how the preschool runs from day to day:
- What is your sick policy?
- Do you teach children to wash hands? How frequently?
- How often are toys and classroom items washed?
- How do you handle visitors? Are the doors locked at all times?
- What is the turnover rate of the teachers?
- Do you have fire drills?
- Do you have a sign in sheet for visitors?
- How old is the play equipment and how often is it inspected?
What should I look for in a preschool tour?
A good preschool tour is one that addresses any questions and concerns parents have. It's also one that shows off the multiple features of the school – the benefits your child can gain from attending. You'll be paying for the preschool, so you want to make sure the tour is thorough and inviting.
Get a feel for the administration and teachers while on the preschool tour. Do they answer your questions appropriately? Do they acknowledge any concerns you have? Do you feel rushed during the tour? Many times, your instincts about the people in charge gives you a good indication if the preschool may be a good fit for your child.
Look at the school grounds before you enter the building. Are the grounds mowed and kept up? Does the playground equipment look safe and maintained? Is there ample space between where the kids will walk and play and where the staff parks?
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What questions should I ask a preschool teacher?
The teacher is a good resource for certain categories of questions, particularly the ones that directly affect your child on a daily basis.
They can answer the questions related to activities, including:
- Do you have outdoor recess? How do you determine when children can go outside? How often do they go outside, and for how long?
- Do you have indoor recess space?
- Do you go on field trips?
- Are outside professionals brought in to speak, such as firefighters, librarians, dentists, zookeepers, etc.
- Do the children take naps? Where? What time does nap time start?
They can also give you information on the meals and snacks given daily. Questions you may have about food include:
- Is there a snack or lunchtime? Who provides the food?
- If I provide food, what food is not permitted?
- How do you handle food allergies?
What parents look for in a preschool
Parents will want to know the preschool has an educational philosophy that is in line with what they want for their children. You want to make sure they will learn what they need to know before kindergarten.
Ask questions like the following to get a better feel for how they teach concepts and skills:
- What curriculum does this school follow?
- What accreditation programs have this preschool earned?
- What does a typical day look like?
- How is learning encouraged?
- Are there more group activities or independent learning?
- What type of fine motor skills activities do students work on?
- What can I expect my child to know when they are finished for the year?
- How are children disciplined?
- How do you handle teasing or bullying?
- How do you handle biting?
- When do you notify parents of an incident?
- How do you handle a child who needs to be comforted?
It is also important that you know the financial obligations you will have to the preschool. Your choice needs to fit in your budget. Money questions you can ask include:
- How much is tuition, and how often is it due?
- What methods of payment do you accept?
- Is there a late fee?
- Is there a discount if I pay for the year upfront?
- Am I responsible for buying any school supplies?
- Do you require parents to participate in fundraisers?
- Are there any extra costs I should know about?
- Do you offer scholarships or discounts?
Do you bring your child to a preschool tour?
For most preschools, bringing your child is up to your personal preference. Check with the preschool when setting up the tour to see if they have any restrictions about children attending.
It's a good idea to bring her with you at least once so she can experience the school for herself. Sometimes, seeing how the child interacts in a prospective school can help parents make the right decision. They may even want to interview your child too!
It is recommended that you tour the preschools you are most interested in at least once without your child as well. That way, you aren't distracted and can ask all the questions you need without making sure she behaves during the visit.
Preschool Tour Checklist
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