You’ve probably heard me mention this several times in the past few weeks and I’m probably starting to sound a bit redundant by now – but Micah’s school is closing in June and I’m completely a wreck about it. We had one more year before Micah started kindergarten (holy crap, that is really around the corner, isn’t it??!!) and I thought I was good to go on childcare until then. Unfortunately, with the decision made to close the school, we are now back in the market for a good preschool.
I’m still new at this experience, since I completely lucked out with his current school after only a short search. But I am dedicated to finding him another great school that will challenge him, engage him, and entertain him.
But how do you choose a new preschool when the current one is just perfect? I’m definitely having a hard time with that…but I’ve taken the time to come up with a few tips that will help you should you be in the same situation.
1. Develop a list of must-haves.
Before I even looked at the different preschools in the area, I made a list of must-haves. I am looking for a preschool that will deliver on several different things in order to keep Micah engaged and this momma happy. My list of must-haves includes:
- enough room for play and learning
- technologically advanced
- defined curriculum with expansive learning opportunities, including computer training, science, languages, etc.
- numerous learning opportunities beyond the classroom – dancing, sports, swimming, etc.
- diversity in teaching staff, support staff, and students
To a certain degree, you will feel the need to compare any school to the current school, but really focus on what you personally want to see in this new school and the knowledge you want your preschooler to walk away with.
2. Talk to others for recommendations.
You would not believe the number of recommendations that I received just from speaking to other parents at the current school. I have a list of almost every school in the area, along with their ratings. Plus, I really want to have Micah at another school where some of his friends will be attending. I believe that it will make the transition a bit easier.
Additionally, speak to your family and friends. Even if they don’t have children, they may know someone who does and put you in contact with them for some advice.
3. Start doing your own research.
You still want to take the time to do your own research. Visit some of the preschool’s websites to see if it meets your must-haves list. Compile a list of questions that you have and give the school a call. Speak with the director, if possible, and ask some of your more pressing questions. End the call with a date in which you can visit for a tour.
4. Take a tour.
Schedule a tour with each preschool that you are really interested. But don’t just walk in, look around and leave. Spend some time there, speak with director, the teachers and assistants and see how the children interact. Find out the daily plan, classroom rules, meal plan (if applicable), and more. If possible, bring your preschooler along with you to see how they engage with the class and teachers. Look at the class at the next level, not just the class that your child will be attending.
5. Engage your child in the decision process.
You would not believe the insight that you can get from your preschooler in making a decision for a new preschool. If your preschooler is going through the independent phase, as mine is, you will be able to get a lot of information from them. After each tour, I ask Micah if he likes the school and I take note of it. And he’s really articulate so it helps! He will let me know if he didn’t like his classmates or the teacher, or in one case, he didn’t like that he couldn’t move from station to station. He was limited to staying at one station for the entire 15-minute session, whereas he wanted the ability to explore. And in another case, he said that the playground was too small.
6. Realize that you may not find another perfect school.
When you have struck gold, sometimes it’s hard to find it again. You may have to realize that you won’t find another school like the current one, but you can find one that fits you and your child’s needs. And who knows, the new preschool may turn out to be even better than the current one!
Do you have any tips for choosing a new preschool? Share in the comments below!
This is the first post in the new series, Training Wheels Wednesday.
Parenthood is a wacky and entertaining journey. And sometimes you just have to share what’s going on in your world of parenting to help others get through their own experiences. And that’s exactly what I plan to do with Training Wheels Wednesday. All of the quirky, silly, entertaining things that happens in my household will be shared each Wednesday. And I’m looking to read your epic stories too – you can submit your guest post or become a regular contributor!