Monday, December 22, 2014

Choosing the Best Preschool Program for Your Child

In many ways the same as choosing a summer day camp, picking a preschool program for your child involves some research. Like kids at day camp, preschool students do best when attending a program suited to individual needs and personality, preparing students both academically and socially for future academic endeavors. Exciting but sometimes a bit overwhelming to parents, choosing a first school is easier if you know what you’re looking for and how to find it.

Before You Start Looking
A great first step in a preschool search is to ask yourself exactly what kind of program you’re looking for your child. A preschool may be offer a small, nurturing environment more geared to introducing kids to a group environment or may sport a big, bustling, more academically-oriented atmosphere. Think about what’s most important to you, whether it’s fees, educational philosophy or proximity to your home or workplace.

The Right Fit for Your Child
Nobody knows your child the way you do, and you need to take into consideration whether you think your youngster can thrive in a particular environment. Visit each potential school as ask yourself whether you can picture your preschooler fitting in and being comfortable. Ask the school about teaching style, philosophy, daily activities and discipline policies. See if you can visit and spend time just observing.

Educational Philosophy
It’s important to ask about the school’s education philosophy as there are many ways to approach learning. Some schools may introduce academic subjects like math and reading earlier, while others have a play-based learning approach. Many are a mix of various philosophies, including the Montessori Method, the Reggio Emilia system and the Waldorf approach.

What is the Philosophy on Reading Readiness?
Does the school focus on teaching early literacy skills? This is a point on which a lot of schools differ and you should try to go with the approach that seems right for you and your child. Reading readiness varies dramatically among young children; a good preschool will help all children feel successful. Kids who are pushed to read before they are ready may develop a poor attitude toward this all-important skill.

Size of Class and Student /Teacher Ratio
Although each state has its own laws regarding class size and student/teacher ratio, some schools may adhere to a smaller size with more individualized attention. If your youngster is easily overwhelmed or distracted or may need more adult attention, it may be particularly important to pick a program with smaller group sizes.

What is the Atmosphere Like?
Try to be sure the school has an atmosphere that is bright, busy, clean and engaging. Are there lots of posters and student art on the walls? Are there clean, well-equipped indoor and outdoor play areas? Do the kids seem happy, excited and enthusiastically involved in activities and do you observe positive, compassionate interactions between students and staff? Are all children actively involved, with plenty of work centers for art, building, projects and dress-up? Are the children working both cooperatively and individually, able to choose some of their own activities during the day? Are there opportunities for active, creative and dramatic play? Most of all, do you think your child would be happy here?

Maplewood Country Day Camp Preschool Program will provide the ideal combination of fun and learning that will build the foundation for your child’s future academic success, socialization skills and inspire a lifelong love of learning. Visit the site:

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