I just got my info in the mail for my son’s Preschool. I signed him up when I was pregnant, because I was really wanting him to go to this particular one, and the lists can get really long, which equals no hope in getting in EVER!
I was a Child Development Major, in College, back in 2005. I was on the forever plan, then the never get a real job plan, due to bouncing baby boy in 2006. So, anywho.. Here are my tips.
Learning.. really, if your child knows his ABC’s that is great. But does that really mean anything, but your child memorized a bunch of letters in alpha order. Counting, maybe your child can count, but do they know one on one correspondence? So, find a curriculum that incorporates meaningful learning. Where your child will learn what the letters mean, in a fun and creative way. Math is fun, when children are given items and are expected to sort or given blocks to build. Did you know there is important learning can be happening when a child plays with blocks. Do you want to learn more about Block Play? Read more, here.
Preschool, is about learning to get along, follow schedules, share, listen, explore, learn as they are “working” which is playing, which is what is a child’s work. When your child is exposed to books, being read to, pretending to read, talking about what happens next, and that letters make words, can all be done by playing. So, look for a center that has resources that incorporate learning in a non traditional form.
Nothing makes me more frustrated, is when a parent expects their child to be “taught” in a traditional school way that is more appropriate for a 1st grader then a 3 or 4 year old.
When you walk into a Preschool, if you see a calendar.. run. Just Kidding, but really, children do not understand the whole calendar concept until Kindergarten, and that is pushing it! Does the center have these activities set up, Kitchen, Pretend Center, Items to be able to Climb on, Block Area, Quiet Area, Cars area, puzzles area? Will the center let your child make his or her own pictures, by cutting, using glue, markers, paints, is there an easel? Do the teachers use portfolio’s to keep your child’s progress?
Here are some different programs for young children, and the links to appropriate sites, to help you decide what program is best for your child.
Montessori– just because a school has Montessori, in its name, does not mean it is Montessori Certified
Theme Based Curriculum-basically what it sounds like, Fruit Theme, Vegetable Theme, Farm Animals theme. I am not big on this learning because, unless you are teaching English Language Learners.
To learn more about development, and programs, check out,www.naeyc.org
I hope you found this post interesting and helpful. Good luck with your search. It is never to early to start shopping for your child’s first school.