Your children are the most precious thing in the world to you. Because children will spend several hours each week in a childcare setting, the preschool you pick for your child can greatly influence their values and educational experience for years to come. This important decision may be affected by a variety of factors, but in the end, you can choose a preschool for your child that is the best fit for your family.
What Types of Questions Should I Ask?
Many factors will influence the school you choose for your young children. When looking at preschools, you will want to think of several considerations. Some questions you may want to ask:
- Location- Is the school conveniently located to your home or work?
- Cost- Does the financial cost work within your family’s means?
- Philosophy of Education- Do you agree with the type of approach the school takes to education? Is it too rigid or flexible? Will your child thrive in this type of environment?
- Reputation of the School- What are other people’s experiences with the school? Does it come highly recommended, or do many people share grievances about the school?
- Training of the Teachers- Are the teachers trained in early education? What level of education or training do you expect for your child’s teachers?
- Safety Protocols- Is the building secure when guests enter? Are the teachers CPR-certified? Are the materials and play structures in good working order to prevent accidents? What is the protocol for sickness in the school?
- Expectations for Students and Parents- Are children expected to be independent learners? Do parents need to fulfill volunteer hours for the school? How involved are parents expected to be?
- Disciplinary Procedures- How does the school handle behavioral issues? Does the school use positive reinforcement strategies? What happens if another child causes harm to your child?
- Structure of the Day- Does the school provide a long independent work time, or fill the day moving from one activity to the next? Do the children go to specials, recess and nap? How does lunch work?
- Enrichment Activities- What additional programs does the school offer? Do they have a language immersion program or other activity of interest to your family?
Traditional vs. Montessori
One of the biggest questions to consider is if you would like a traditional or Montessori setting for your child. A traditional setting will often have several whole group activities for the children and follow a curriculum that has a pre-determined pace. A Montessori environment contains classes of mixed-age children and the teacher provides individualized lessons for the children at the pace the individual needs for mastery. These settings look very different from each other, so it’s a good idea to research each to determine which educational approach is best for your family.
In the Bay Area, Fountainhead Montessori serves students in Pleasant Hill, Livermore, Orinda and Danville to provide high quality preschool experiences for children 18 months-6 years old. We would love to answer any questions you may have and discuss if our school is a good preschool option for your child. You can schedule a tour to learn more about the Montessori philosophy and what Fountainhead can offer to you and your family.
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