Picking Out A Preschool

Preschool
Preschool | Source

Top 5 things to look for when searching for a new preschool

- Distance: Drive the route when you would be driving it for school. See how long the drive really is. Remember you will be driving this route a few times a day (dropping off and picking up). If you have to drive far each day, it will get old fast.

- Price: Sometimes, a monthly tuition is just the beginning. They might add uniform fees, supply fees, snack and lunch fees, etc. It's good to ask if there are any other fees or what is included in the monthly tuition. Also, some preschools show there tuition rate in weeks and not months. It may say "tuition rate = 200. You would think it was per month, but sometimes it is per week. Make sure you get the monthly rate and find out if you need to pay it monthly or weekly and how you can pay it (check, credit, bill pay, automatic withdrawal).

- Staff: Find out who your child's teacher will be. Introduce your child. See if there personalities click or if your child seems upset by the teacher. Some preschools have a free day where your child could try it out for a day before you register. See how your child likes it and look around the school and classroom to see if that is a place where you would like your child to learn.

- Security: Is it safe? Can your child escape? Do they keep the doors open to let in a breeze or do parents have to put in a code to get to the classrooms? I crossed one preschool off my list because a child had recently escaped and was found standing beside a busy intersection all by himself! I didn't know until after I spoke to a parent that recently moved her children from that school to our school.

- Education: What will they learn? Does it look fun? Will it ready your child for Kindergarten?

Picking Out A Preschool: My Story

My family and I moved to a new state last year, just a week before school started.

I was researching preschools from halfway across the country in hopes that I would find the perfect pre school for my then 2 and 3 year old.

It was very difficult since they mostly had non-chain preschools that I had never heard of.

When looking, I made a list of schools for early childhood development that I could find on the internet. I emailed each one and gathered information into a word document as I received it.

I was researching dozens of preschools and had to keep all the information in order. It was easy though. I just copied and pasted the email responses from each preschool under the preschools name on my Word document.

I also searched the internet for parents reviews of each preschool. As I found them, I also copy and pasted the information into my document. This information was great to have since it was from a parents perspective that has worked with that preschool.

Next, I checked mapquest directions to find out how far each preschool was from our new house. I listed each preschool by the distance from our new house, from shortest to longest.

Then came availability. As I received responses from the preschools, I found that most were already booked up since we were just trying to get in 2 months before school began.

I was able to put my children's names on waiting list in hopes that they would be chosen later.

Many of the preschools that I communicated with told me that they had availability for one child and not the other.

Since I wanted both of my children at the same preschool, for convenience sake, this quickly brought the number of preschools down.

After all the research, I finally picked one without even seeing it in person. My kids loved the school, especially my son who had a wonderful teacher.

Now that we have finished up our first year of preschool here and we found that my daughter will have a bummer teacher next year and that the drive is longer than it said on mapquest (especially since it goes through construction that will be going on for the next 3 years), we are looking for another school for my daughter.

My son will be going to Kindergarten at the public school near us, which got great ratings on the internet. Hopefully it lives up to its reviews.

Since we have been here a year and have found that there are even more preschools than I could find on the internet, I am getting a lot of word of mouth recommendations.

I have found information that I couldn't even find on the internet. I have chopped out whole areas that I would have considered last year during my search (because I didn't know about the traffic, construction, train stops on the road, etc).

I did not find out that my daughter would have the bummer teacher until the last day of school. This is the teacher who forgot my daughter's birthday, even though I brought cupcakes in to share with the class that morning.

She just turned 3 and was very excited about it since all the other kids had little birthday parties during class. This teacher also never smiles at or acknowledges my daughter when she walks into the room.

My daughter always looks sad when she comes out of class and she said she didn't like her teacher. She is normally a very happy girl! I was also told by some of the other teachers that I became friends with that the bummer teacher does not like her job.

Not sure why she's there, but that doesn't mean that my daughter has to be in her classroom next year. Now we are looking for a new school for my daughter.

Since we are starting our search so late in the year again, I am getting responses from a lot of schools that they are already full for the next school year.

The ones that aren't full are more like daycares than preschools. Since I am a stay-at-home Mom, I don't need a day care. The Montessori's are very expensive, but they sound wonderful.

No wonder they are so expensive! On my stay-at-home income, I can't afford them.

Making The Decision

Hopefully this helps a few parents who are looking for a preschool to send their child to. It is a difficult decision since you want to make sure you are choosing the perfect preschool for your child. Good Luck!

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