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Sunday, October 17, 2010

How to choose a Pre-school

An EducationYour questions being answered:

From anonymous in Bethesda, MD - "What do I look for in a good pre-school program?"

This is a great question! I can answer this question using at least three hats. :) One as mother, one as an educator and one as a business owner and professional that has worked closely with many of these facilities.

I can tell you that a good pre-school will serve your individual needs while behaving professionally and keeping high standards for their teachers/other staff and for the safety of the facility. Everyone is different and you must determine what you and your child are looking to get out of the facility.

Do NOT be fooled by a pretty crest, the word academy in a title and a uniform. This does not create a quality facility. These things are a façade. You must dig deeper. I have experienced many “high quality” facilities that do not have a minimum requirement for their educators, their principals are not degreed in education or early childhood development and probably the most shocking were the facilities housing ages 0-5 yr olds that were advertising a safe environment yet had unlocked doors and little to no security concerning who was on campus, what they had access to, and poor pick up and drop off safety procedures, etc.

Here are a few tips when choosing your pre-school:

Ask the questions -

- What degree and qualifications does your principal and other administrative staff have that aid them in running the facility?
- What are your safety procedures and who is responsible for making sure they are maintained
- What are the minimum educational requirements for your teachers (Note - when they say their minimum requirement is a Bachelor's or equivalent life experience that means there IS NO real requirement)
- What curriculum do they use (Note - Links of Learning is one of the main educational “curriculum in a box” programs some pre-schools purchase - this is OK but ask them how they implement it and if they also expand upon this cookie-cutter curriculum and who is responsible for creating and implementing this on-site curriculum component.)

Remember - you are paying a lot for these facilities and you are entrusting people with your most precious commodity. Your children. And not just for 30 minutes at a time but for upwards to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week in some cases.

Can you afford NOT to make sure they are all they advertise to be? The answer is no.

If you'd like a list of facilities I would personally and professionally suggest or NOT suggest feel free to email me!

Keep asking questions!
An Education

1 comment:

  1. Great advice. I've had some bad experiences with some of the chain pre-schools - they seem to care more about the business than the kids.

    Sarah, Ft. Washington