How did you choose your child's pre-school?

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[deleted account]

Visit several centers.
Look at how the children are interacting with the staff. Look at how the rooms are set up (do they just look nice or are they actually geared toward children?)
Look at the cleanliness of the place (yes it should be a bit messy, children are involved, but it should not be dirty -other then floors in hallways in winter and rainy weather).
Ask to see the menu for food. Look to make sure that they are feeding them home cooked meals, not packaged instant stuff.
Ask what kind of teaching philosophy the center uses. Are they play based (children learn through play), are the very structured? are they theme based? Are they free form (children choose what they do every day)?
What is the out door space like?
Are there a variety of toys both indoor and outdoor for the children.
Does it have an art area that is accessible to the children?
Does it have sensory bins (water or sand tables) or are their planned sensory activities?

Also ask about staff turn over rate. If it is high (change in staff every couple of months) avoid them. Child care centers or preschools with high staff turn over rates mean the staff are unhappy and there is something not necessarily apparent that is wrong, whether it is because the staff are under paid, the center is managed poorly or the center is understaffed, never has enough money for art supplies or outside toys etc.

Ask for references.
Ask friends and family for suggestions or referrals to some centers to check out.

Also always trust your gut. If something seems off about a place, trust this instinct.

This comes from someone who has been working in child care for 10 years. I worked at two very very horrid centers and am now working from home.

Good luck!

Jessica - posted on 08/01/2010

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i agree with Nicole. I started with a list of what was important to me. Called about 30 centers. Narrowed that list down and then visited the 9 remaining with an even more specific list. The questions you ask are up to you (in terms of more or less important), but food options and no tv and rest times and assistance in potty training and similar ideas about child rearing were important to me. An actual curriculum, time to play outside, an open door policy, being able to drop in at any time, if I was nursing could I come on a break from work to do so...and did I feel like it was a good environment for my kid. Cleanliness was important, but I also had to realize these were kids who were being actively engaged by their teacher. Good luck!

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Charlotte - posted on 10/25/2012

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My husband and I decided on a new online preschool called Chalk preschool for our daughter. She'd watched their learning videos on YouTube many times and it just seemed natural for us to enroll her there. Even though it's new, so far it's been great and she loves it!

Allie - posted on 08/31/2010

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My son's school is NAEYC accredited. That just means they have someone come around and surprise inspect the school every few months.
(learn more @ www.naeyc.org )
I was also lucky enough to know the director for years, substitute there, and my mom works at the church its connected to. But definitely go and visit where you're looking two-three times when kids are there and aren't there. Good luck, deciding to put your child into someone elses hands is a big decision.

Ruthie - posted on 08/31/2010

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I would check to see if they have a program where your child may go to a public school for half days or full days . We have a really neat program here in st.louis called Parents As Teachers. My daughter started pre-K for the first time she is three. She goes 2 days out of the for half day. She loves it. I do too. it's preparing her for Kindegarten. We had an open house and were able to drop by anytime. I really needed that. I like to see what she and the teachers are doing at diffrent times. Good Luck.

Nicole - posted on 08/29/2010

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When i chose a daycare for my child he was around 16 months when he first started going. I used alot of private daycares which was a HUGE mistake and chose against ever doing it again. My son was slow at learning to crawl and walk because the lady that watched him all day made him sit in a highchair all day while i was at work thats 8 hours in a high chair. I couldnt figure out why d had so much energy at the end of the day. Me and my husband starting making random stops to drop of medication and what not to see if he did anything different through out the day and they would be sitting at the table playing cards and my son would be in a high chair. So we fired her. And i went around and started doing interviews. I asked questions like:

- What activities do they do with my child?
- How will they help him learn at his age?
- what do they do for naps? (because my child is a picky nap time person)
- meal times
- how they handle potty training.
- took a tour or all the classes and the play ground.

Them answering the questions and their attitudes through out it all is what helped me decided which was right for my son.

I mean I know my son the best so i know what he will and wont like.

Good luck with your search for a school. Hope this Helps =)

Griselda - posted on 08/26/2010

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The most important thing I look at is the schools' mission statement. If they don't have a mission statement I don't even bother getting a tour or meeting with the director of the school. If there's a mission statement then I break down every sentence and decipher it one by one. If the mission statement talks about what I'm looking for I set up an appointment to meet with the director to be more information about the preschool... You got to be picky since you'll be paying out of pocket of your childs education, right?



I also forgot to mention... when choosing a preschool, you need to keep in mind if you wan to put your child in a "developmental" or "academic" preschool... personally think that developmental schools are much better.

Debbie - posted on 08/23/2010

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i wouldn't go threw all the hastle of cameras and all the department, the basic thing is go to diffrent schools compair the diffrent schools by the bathroom, kitchen, playground and then point number one if you walk into a class room and it does not look like anything is going on in that clasroom like for example numbers alpabeth and pictures of drawings of numberes children then it seems like there will be nothing tought in this school. if the bathroom is smelly or the kitchen does not look up to standerd it will be a no, no , but then again you would know if this makes yuo happy it will make youre child happy.

Keira - posted on 08/23/2010

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my 20 month old son has been in day xare/pre school for three weeks now..we took him around all the schools to check them out and checked out how he reacted and if he felt comfortable in each environment..he didnt adapt to any until we tried the last one in town and he jumped in to play immediately..

Racqueline - posted on 08/17/2010

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I so was there this year. My 4 1/2 yr old is starting school this Sept. I did a ton of research. We don't live in the greatest neighborhood, so the public schools are not the best. So I looked at school of choice. But how that works is if there is enough room after all the kids in the home school area are done choosing and if there is enough room after that then we can go to that school. (hope that makes sense) Any way we ended up sending him to a private school. The main reason is the teacher per students. In the private there is only 8 kids in the class, in public there where 24 per one teacher that is crazy. You have to remember you are your childs biggest influence right now and when you send them to school the teacher will become his/her biggest influence. And if there are too many kids the teacher can't pay attention too all, then the children in your kids class become their biggest influence. I know it's alot to think about and a ton of reseach, but you will make the right choice that fits your child best. Good luck :-)

Majella - posted on 08/13/2010

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By talking to the preschool staff and seeing how they interacted with the children,it is important 2 visit the school while there r children there 2 see how happy they all r.Also I checked 2 see if any of the kids enrolled would b going on 2 the same primary school as my child.

Theresa - posted on 08/09/2010

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I was lucky to be in an area with a great school district that offers a pre k program.... and it fit the criteria....
here is the list I went off
location.... i can walk bus or drive in a vry short time
teacher with aid.... one teacher is never enough
the class size..... 15 is a good size w/ aid
diversity.... my children interact with many cultures and languages.
hours..... most 3 - 5 year olds are content for a few hours so being a half day pre k the get the education needed and are home for lunch and nap

thats a few things to look for.

Valerie - posted on 08/09/2010

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I have worked in three different preschools. You need to ask a lot of questions about teacher ratios, teacher turn over, daily activities, sleeping arragements, lunches and snacks. Pay a lot of extra attention to the cleanliness of the room, as well as the way the teacher presents herself. If you get a bad feeling about a place dont bring your child there you are probably right. Also check your state regulaitons and pay close attention to those when you are touring. If you dont see the rules being followed point it out to the director. I hope this helps!!

Brenna - posted on 08/08/2010

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I checked it out, you go with your gut feeling about the people running it, word of mouth,take a tour and get in the peoples face and look them in the eye's. im very picky and untrustworthy when it comes to my kid's but i found the perfect one.

Loren - posted on 08/08/2010

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number 1 thing find out with cameras ....i can watch my munchkin on the internet......if they know they are being watched there is a less of chance they will abuse your child then a daycare that doesn't......and a clean school! after ur child goes there for a while u will be able to tell who he likes and if he or she likes the school....i'm happy to report myy son loves his school and his teachers!

Chiquita - posted on 08/08/2010

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the first thing i do, is take a walk through the kitchen, and bathroom of the school. That way i can see how they feel about hygine, as i think it is very omportant. Then ofcouse, not chencking if the staff is interacting with the children, but rather if the children is hapy being around the teachers..... I am i teacher at a pre primary, so i have learnt through the years. My youngest is at a very nice place now, because he is still to young for our school....

Jennifer - posted on 08/08/2010

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I am in the same situation, as you are Ava. What I would do is ask them for their(The daycares) state license number and go to the state and look them up, to see if they have any abuse or anything negative on their record. Also, on the Department of Human Services website, they have a QRS rating. This stands for quality rating system. I don't know if they have them in all states. I know in Iowa, they do. They are rated 1-5. A center that has a 1, means that they have met the requirement to open a center. If they have 2-5 rating, it means that they ( the center) have gone over and beyond in the quality. This means that they have inservice, they keep up with their first aid, CPR, they are up to date and go above that, they are keeping up with their continuing educational units. Check the teacher;student ratio. Does the staff, interact with the kids....

Maya - posted on 08/07/2010

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Went to the few nearest schools to my house. Checked the one with the biggest variety of different nations children. Then checked the teachers, then the school at all - whether its clean, tidy, etc.. Then checked the price - didnt want to be too expensive or too cheap. Then when my daughter started the school i was checking whats her mood and achievements and 3 months later i was sure that This is The School

Louise - posted on 08/07/2010

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I love love love my preschool choice for my son and now my daughter. It is a christian based facility with the most loving, nuturing teachers and administrators. First Bapt. is well known through out our community, as well my sisters children attended also. .

Becky - posted on 08/06/2010

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I really didnt choose her headstart. There was an opening and I took it. I had a chance to start her in a new headstart school this year that would offer bus service but I kept her where she was because the teachers are great and Leslie was comfortable there.

Aicha - posted on 08/06/2010

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When my daughter is old enough there are 3 Islamic preschools in our area and I have been researching them and talking to parents my husband says she can go to a Islamic preschool and school but not a public school

Cherie - posted on 08/05/2010

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I have worked @ a couple of preschools, one very important factor- teacher turn-over rate (it says a lot).

Serena - posted on 08/05/2010

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We have three children under the age of 4, so daycare in general gets expensive quick so we had to keep budget in mind. But I have been lucky and found a preschool that my son loves and I feel comfortable at.
I think you have to base it off your maternal instincts more than anything and watch how your child responds.

Cheryl - posted on 08/04/2010

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I google the centers within a 10 mile radius of my work so I knew i could be there with in a timely manner, googleing them also has ratings notes and had commets on most of them I then visited I would always ask to visit during a peak hour to see how stress was handled or a peak time like before a holiday.

Heather - posted on 08/04/2010

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me & my fiance both took time to go check out some in town
we chose the one that had some really great quality for the kids & they had a live camera to check out what your child was doin 24/7

[deleted account]

Great question.

For my 7-y.o. daughter, word of mouth was a good resource, but nothing takes the place of an in-person visit. When I walked into her school, I absolutely KNEW it was for her. I felt it in my gut - but that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't seen the classroom, smelled the lavender and baked bread, met the teacher and heard her philosophy and soft, soothing voice....

I visited several preschool, and they all seemed nice, but they were cookie-cutter. My daughter's school stood out heads and shoulders above the rest.

[deleted account]

We chose to homeschool ours. After find out that the day schools and preschools don't actually teach children at their level we thought it was best to just teach at home. We both work full time and we both homeschool our 7, 4, and 3 year olds. Our 7 year old is doing 3rd grade, our 4 year old is in kindergarten work, and our 3 year old is doing mostly preschool work but some kindergarten. If we let the public school system get a hold of them we would have to stop teaching our children for at least a year or more so that the other children can "have a chance to catch up."
I say you do what is best for your child and teach them at their own pace. Forget the school system and go with your gut. Don't let anyone tell you that your child can't learn something.
good luck and god bless

Charlena - posted on 07/31/2010

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Very carefully , I did a internship at a preschool when i was about 16 and will never forget this teacher who got so frustrated with this 3 year old she picked him up and shook him , im so glad a mom had walked in on her and she got reported , but me and the other interns were just standing their with our mouths dropped like did she just do that ? so now that i have my own kids i research and ask people , i also make sure i teach my kids that if someone is hurting them in anyway to never be scared to tell me .

Melissa - posted on 07/22/2010

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I am not sure how old your child is but mine is 13 months and in 2 months he will start a day school.. I chose it through talking with friends and co workers. All of them love the school and highly recommended it... I took a tour of the school and can visit unannounced.

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