ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Choosing A Pre-School

Updated on May 25, 2014

Your Child Will Blossom At A Place That's Right For Them

Source

The First Step

Starting kindergarten or pre-school is an important step for you and your child. This is their first experience of education and you want it to be right. Young children may be not as able to tell you when things are not going well for them and you need to feel confident that you are leaving your precious child in the best hands.

So how to choose? Personal recommendation from another happy parent is worth its weight in gold but if you want to make up your own mind there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for when you make a preliminary visit.

A Gold Standard Checklist

What to look for when you visit for the first time:

  • How many adult heads can you see when you look through the window? In a good setting staff will be down at the children’s level playing with them and supporting their activities.
  • Following on from that how many staff are in the kitchen or the office? During the session the staff should be with the children. There will be tasks to do, such as preparing the snack, but two staff chatting in the kitchen while the session is in progress is a mark in the ‘no’ column.

  • Are any children wandering aimlessly? In a good setting children will be purposefully playing or engaged in activities. Any children looking lost will be soon spotted by a member of staff.

  • What kind of activities are there for the children? Can you spot at least one activity that has been specifically designed to encourage the children to use their imagination and creativity, something you wouldn’t have thought of at home? Lots of colouring-in type activities aren’t going to inspire or extend your child.

Books To Look At And Stories To Share

Social Time

Try to stay for snack time as this will give you a useful insight into the setting. In a good setting the staff will sit at the tables with the children and engage them in discussion. They might be talking about what they have been doing so far, or what they would like to do next. It should be a proper discussion, not just the adult talking. They will be taking into account the language levels of the children and giving them plenty of time to answer.

Is mess an issue? Children do need to learn to pour their own drinks and spread their own sandwiches and this should be more important than avoiding spills The children will be trying to do things for themselves rather than the staff doing it for them.

My heart always sinks when I see staff standing directing rather than sitting participating, but also look out for adults sitting with the children but chatting to each other over their heads, this is paying lip service.

Questions To Ask

  • How do you support children who don’t settle easily?

  • What trips and outings have you taken the children on in the past 3 months?

  • How do you record children’s learning and progress? Can I see some examples? Can I contribute to this when we learn things at home?

  • When do they spend time with their key person?

  • How are the children’s interests taken into account when planning activities?

Activities To Challenge And Develop New Skills

Source

Behaviour

For young children, who don’t have as many words as adults or older children, unwanted behaviour can be seen as a form of communication. The intention behind the behaviour could be:

  • ‘you’ve got what I want’

  • ‘I don’t like what you’re doing’

  • ‘I want someone to notice me’

  • ‘I can’t tell you how I’m feeling’

Or it could be intended playfully. You will be expecting staff to demonstrate an understanding of this, not just by how they deal with situations, but by their comments. References to ‘naughty’ behaviour, or even comments like ‘they’ve been good today’ don’t show a professional understanding of child development.

The End Of The Visit

At the end of your visit check your gut feelings. Did you get a feeling, not just of enthusiasm and energy but skills and professionalism? Did you observe positive relationships where children are able to discover their uniqueness? Most importantly notice how your child reacts and don’t forget to involve them in the decision. Its their future after all!

Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Allyson Cardis profile imageAUTHOR

      Allyson Cardis 

      4 years ago from Gloucestershire, England

      Thank you. Your daughter is so lucky to have such a great experience of education, and well done you for enabling more children to benefit!

    • sassypiehole profile image

      Lisa René LeClair 

      4 years ago from the ATL

      Great checklist! I looked for same things when we settled into ours. We hot lucky on the first try and I convinced the owner to open up a private elementary. She opened the doors last year where my daughter now attends (soon-to-be) second grade. Such a fabulous school; could not be amy more thrilled. ;-)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)