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A guide to choosing a preschool

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Preschools use an open-structured play learning program to allow a child to grow at their own speed. Learning experiences in preschool include the use of puzzles, painting, stories and drama, just to mention a few. Choosing the right preschool for your child gives them a good foundation for early education and helps with smooth transitions. The following tips will help you select a preschool that is right for your child: 

1. Familiarise yourself with the preschool approaches and terms

There are many terms associated with preschool, such as the Montessori approach and the Waldorf approach. Usually, the main difference between these preschool approaches is their educational principles. Some of these approaches include:

  • The Montessori approach- this approach is concerned with the individuality of every child. It does not believe in the comparison between two children, as they are different and learn at different speeds.
  • Reggio Emilia approach- this approach involves teaching children how to problem-solve creatively.
  • Waldorf approach- focuses on imagination in learning and allows children to explore their environment through participation and thought.

When you know the difference between these approaches, you can make a decision on the school you prefer. There are also terms associated with preschool settings such as faith-based, teacher-led and child-led that indicate the structure of learning of the school.

2. The relationship between instructors and children

After narrowing your list to a few preschools, it is important to visit them and see how the instructors interact with the children. Observe for trusting and nurturing relationships in which the teachers address the children by their name, listen and understand them. Definitions of a good teacher-student relationship may vary, but it is very easy to see whether a positive relationship exists. Therefore, ensure your child will learn under the care of positive teachers who are flexible to accommodate the personality of your child. Also, observe for encouraging words, smiles from children and a lot of interaction between the teacher and the kids.

3. Environment

A preschool environment determines whether your child will learn the necessary skills for their age. During a site visit to the preschool, look at the classroom environment. Ensure that the furniture present is comfortable for a child and that the classroom is adequately spaced. Look for the present students' art, creations and books as an indicator that it is a space that encourages creativity. It also indicates that the classroom is a safe space to learn and grow.