What to Look for in a Preschool

Selecting a preschool that is best for your child can be overwhelming and daunting.  There are so many factors that impact your decision, and it is something that should be contemplated carefully.  Consider the following suggestions in finding a preschool that is right for you and your child.

A good preschool should take into account how preschoolers learn:

  • Students must be in an environment where they feel safe and secure. Visit some preschools. The environment should feel kid-friendly. It should be a warm, inviting place where your child wants to be. Teachers should be welcoming and engaged.
  • Students need to have continuous, connected learning. The things your child learns should be connected. Find a preschool with curriculums that are research-based and proven to be effective.
  • Students must have chances to explore and play. Children learn through play. They should have ample time to discover and explore without having to sit still and listen for long periods of time.
  • All students develop in their own way and on their own timeline. Children should be allowed to go learn and explore at their own pace and in their own way. The curriculum should be differentiated according to the student level and be introduced at a pace appropriate for each.
  • Students should have opportunities to learn with just enough challenge. Challenges are an important aspect of development; but too much, and they will get frustrated; not enough, and they will get bored.
  • Teachers can be facilitators in learning situations. They should make comments, ask questions, and add new challenges as children are exploring and learning.

A good preschool should have a balanced program that focuses on every aspect of children’s development:

  • Intellectual Development:
    • Preschoolers learn best through hands-on experience. They need to be encouraged to ask questions, problem-solve, and come up with solutions, as well as be creative in their learning. As they explore with blocks or cars or pouring water from one container to another, they learn about science and math.
    • Children are encouraged to develop language and literacy skills as they listen to teachers read aloud, have chances to explain and share, and are surrounded by a print-rich environment. Students should be encouraged to interact with each other, talk, and share.
    • A students’ creativity is encouraged through expression using many mediums: markers, crayons, paints, colored papers, scissors, etc.
  • Social development:
    • Teachers are present to help children resolve social conflicts, such as fighting over toys or taking turns in a game. They talk to the students about what is happening and share positive ways to solve issues. They encourage students to build problem-solving skills that can be used on their own in the next situation. Instead of always telling students what not to do, teachers should give students the skills and abilities to solve problems on their own.
    • Students are encouraged to engage in “dramatic play.” They create scenarios and pretend to be “the mom” or “the teacher” or “baking cookies.” Teachers provide stimulating opportunities that allow students to explore and express themselves.
  • Large motor development:
    • Preschoolers crave movement. They need to be allowed to move their bodies frequently. Students are learning to control their bodies and should be given ample opportunities to dance to music, exercise, imitate other body movements, and play games. These things promote coordination.
  • Small motor development:
    • At this age, students are developing their fine motor skills. Teachers should provide activities and opportunities for students to practice. This can include things like play dough, blocks, Legos, lacing cards and, for older students, scissors. Being able to control their hands and fingers is a skill students can improve.
    • The preschool setting is also a place where students can learn independence in things like dressing themselves. Zipping up coats, tying shoes, and putting on socks are all skills that students should work towards. Opening up their own snack or cleaning up their own spills encourages students to be self-reliant and independent.
  • Language development:
    • Students learn language through listening and speaking. As they engage in conversations, it is important that they have individual conversations with adults throughout the day. They need to feel important and receive that individualized attention from those of authority.
    • Preschoolers also learn through song. They should have lots of opportunities to learn through singing, simple rhymes, and fingerplays. They should be encouraged to talk through the show and tell or by telling simple stories.

A good preschool will focus on several areas of learning at the same time.

  • Language and literacy skills: Students should be listening to stories, helping recite parts of familiar stories, and engaging in discussions about books and characters. Students should experiment with writing, beginning with basic scribbles to letter formation to writing their own names.
  • Mathematics and Science: Children can learn math and science as they explore with different toys and tools. Toys can be counted, sorted, organized, arranged, and built. Students can learn about the weather, animals, and their bodies. So many aspects of the world around them are accessible to students in the preschool classroom.
  • Social studies: Students can and should study about their communities. They can learn about different cultures and even teach about their own customs and traditions.
  • Art, music, drama, and dance: Children should be given daily opportunities for dramatic play. There are so many tools they can use, including dress-ups, props, singing, paints, and paper, etc. Students are encouraged to express themselves through lots of media.

As you search for a preschool for your child, ask for referrals from trusted neighbors and friends.  This should be an exciting time! 

Did you know that Studio 56 Dance Center hosts an amazing preschool? Little Learners Preschool was established in 2010 and is Murray City’s premiere preschool program! Set up a tour today and learn more at www.littlelearnersutah.com

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