This post has been sponsored by KinderCare. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
The moment you realize your little one is ready for preschool can be both emotional and overwhelming. Having experienced this decision making process twice with my older daughters and the time approaching again with my youngest, I am all too familiar with the steps to finding just the right preschool. Juggling irregular long hours as a registered nurse and our family’s busy weekly schedule made this decision even more important as the school had to be a good fit for our routine. There are so many aspects to consider when beginning your search for a preschool, but I have narrowed it down to 5 key steps for an easier decision.
Another great resource to assist you in making the best preschool choice for your child is KinderCare’s Super Simple Guide. This straightforward guide has all the must-have information and details you need to know to help make an informed choice for your little one’s future preschool.
Find a School with High Quality Care
One of the main concerns I had about sending my girls to preschool was finding a school with a high quality of care. I was so nervous at the thought of leaving my daughters in the hands of anyone other than family. However these fears were calmed when I found preschools for them that had trained early childhood teachers who extended the same quality of care that I provide while offering a fun and engaging classroom. Communication was always readily available and the teachers worked with our family to ensure our girls had the best experience while at the school. Additional features to look for in a high quality care center are small class size, a curriculum based on the development of the whole child, and national accreditation. These details ensure your child is receiving an optimal foundation for kindergarten while also having the personalized attention they need. An excellent choice that checks off all of these criteria are KinderCare Learning Centers. 98% of KinderCare Learning Centers are nationally accredited and maintain top early childhood standards while constantly improving in the areas of the teaching staff, environment, and curriculum. The centers are dedicated to providing your child the best education and care they can receive in their most important early years. I also love that these centers have a strong history in early childhood development since 1969 when they first opened their doors as a place for mothers in the workforce to receive high quality care for their children.
Plan a Preschool Visit + Meet & Greet With Teachers
One of the most important steps to choosing your child’s preschool is a planned visit to the prospective school as well as a meet & greet with the teachers. When I walked into each of my daughter’s preschools for the first time to visit, I immediately felt a sense that it was the right place. I could visualize my daughters attending the school and it being a great match to each of their personalities. The visit allowed me to see the teacher’s interactions with children and the typical routine for the school day. A preschool visit will also give you insight into the classroom setup, cleanliness of the facility, and safety. Our visits to various preschools also gave my daughters the chance to interact with other children and give the school a bit of a test run. The visits were an opportunity for my daughters to weigh in on the decision and see if they felt comfortable in the setting.
A meet & greet with the teachers is equally as important to the actual visit. Having a positive relationship with your child’s teacher is essential for both you and your little one. Meeting your child’s teacher will give you a one on one engagement in which you will be able to clearly see the teacher’s outlook and approach to learning. You will also get a sense of how future interactions will function. With past meet and greet’s, I could see my daughter’s teachers were full of energy and had a genuine love and enthusiasm for teaching. When planning your visit, be sure to allocate time for a meeting with the teachers and look for their joy and passion for early childhood education!
Consider The Details
Once you have a few preschools in mind for your child, be sure to gather all the necessary details that are relevant to your child and your family’s schedule. Some of the extra details that always top my list of requirements due to our family’s unique needs, are the proximity of the school to our home, the school’s hours/schedule, before/after care options, and cost. These are all things that should be discussed with the child care center and many schools are willing to work with you to help make your child’s education at their center possible. Keep in mind to check for any customized details that were agreed upon to be present in your final enrollment agreement.
Research the Reviews and Trust Your Gut
Online reviews from reputable sites and word of mouth from other parents are the best source for honest and trustworthy feedback regarding a preschool. Plan an open and candid conversation with other parents to get all the information you want and need regarding the school. If this isn’t possible request school provided references or attend an open house to meet other parents. I remember how discussing and hearing other parents praise the teachers and schools my daughters attended gave me a sense of peace with my final decision.
After you have concluded all of your research into a school, the best way to know if it is right for your little one is to ultimately trust your gut. I visited several preschools for my daughters but in the end I knew which was was right for them. I just had an innate feeling that the schools we selected were right and we were extremely happy with our choices. As a parent you know what is best for your child and what he or she requires out of a learning environment. When you reflect on all of the factors that make up a school, you will know in your heart which one is the most fitting for your child.