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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD is going to start preschool next fall and will be a little over 3. While I'm sure I've found the school I want her to attend, I am curious as to what those of you who've done preschool, looked when choosing the school? What were your priorities, what were the must haves,what seemed most important to making a decison as to where you would send your DC? TIA!
 

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I like it to be organized. The teacher should be ready to greet the kids each morning and have a dependable schedule. This really is important for kids who are more apprehensive/shy.

It is also important to me that play is emphasized over academics, especially at three!

We had to drop out of preschool when my ds was three, he just wasn't ready and it wasn't worth the tears. He is a very successful Kindergarten kid now, he just needed a few years more to detach from mama, my dd on the other hand loves preschool at three and could go all day...

my point is, it is important to read what your child needs as far as structure and length of day.

Have fun with your new experience and don't let it stress you out, its only preschool afterall!


HTHs
 

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Must haves:

Physical space
- outdoor area for play
- clean, organized, spacious, lots of light,
- child-sized furniture
- books and activities

Safety
- clear procedures for drop off/pick up
- controlled access - so children can't escape and strangers can't get in
- well-maintained, no crumbling stairs, trampolines, etc.

Attitude/Environment
- respectful to the children and parents
- friendly, welcoming, caring
- flexible, able to adjust to meet the child where s/he is, rather than having expectations of what s/he must be doing - for my children, academics (i.e. reading, writing, playing with numbers, learning fascinating scientific facts) was playing - they loved those activities. I wanted a place where that love of knowledge would be respected, not discouraged as unnatural because of a mistaken belief that all 3 y.o. must prefer to play with trains or in the play kitchen. Yes, my children liked those things, but they also liked reading and numbers too.
- nurtured my child as a capable person

Good luck with this next step on your journey!
 

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1) How teachers talk to the children -- this is by far the most important thing, nothing else comes close.

2) Nice outdoor space and a significant amount of time spent there.

3) Philosophy of learning through child directed activity, and through routines, and recognizing that those two pieces are as important or more important that the teacher directed stuff.

4) Inclusive of a wide variety of kinds of children, including those with disabilities

I'm in Early Childhood Ed so I'm super picky, I could go on and on. But those 4 are a great place to start.
 

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What is the size of the class and what is the teacher-student ratio?

Is the classroom clean and well-organized?

Do the children there look happy?
 

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1. Warm and nurturing teachers/environment
2. Spacious play areas, indoors and outdoors
3. Clean, organized and well maintained (facilities, toys, etc.)
4. Accomodating different abilities, interests, with a balance between play and "academics" that we were comfortable with
5. Hours of operation (I WOH and needed "aftercare")

Or, at least that is my list in theory! We were actually overseas at the time and were very limited in our choices. I put DD in a school that met my minimum "emergency" criteria (DD and I arrived without DH and I had to start work ASAP) to place DD for the first month until I could do more research, and ended up staying there for two years as I managed to get all the above and more through luck of the draw.
 

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  • Warm, nurturing teachers (you can tell by watching them interact with kids)
  • Low teacher turn-over (you don't want 3 teachers in one year!)
  • A play-based curriculum
  • Low teacher-student ratios
  • A clear positive discipline strategy
  • Teachers who work with children on appropriate problem solving strategies
  • A safe environment that allows for different kinds of play - some areas for sensory play, some areas for large motor play, some areas for imaginative play, some areas for artistic endeavors, some areas for reading/looking at books
  • A consistent routine so the children know what to expect - but not so rigid that they never go outside their routine
  • NAEYC accreditation would be nice, but it's less important to me for preschools than for daycare
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

  • Warm, nurturing teachers (you can tell by watching them interact with kids)
  • Low teacher turn-over (you don't want 3 teachers in one year!)
  • A play-based curriculum
  • Low teacher-student ratios
  • A clear positive discipline strategy
  • Teachers who work with children on appropriate problem solving strategies
  • A safe environment that allows for different kinds of play - some areas for sensory play, some areas for large motor play, some areas for imaginative play, some areas for artistic endeavors, some areas for reading/looking at books
  • A consistent routine so the children know what to expect - but not so rigid that they never go outside their routine
  • NAEYC accreditation would be nice, but it's less important to me for preschools than for daycare
This is what I looked for when my dd was pre-school age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for ALL the replies

I am going to consider these aspects when DH and I tour the school we want DD to start next fall. These concepts and ideas have been very helpful to me!
 
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