Preschool Help

Calling all moms of preschoolers OR former preschoolers!

I'm working on a project that could use a little input from all you wise moms out there. What were some of the questions you had/asked when you considered enrolling your child in a particular school? What were you looking for in regards to academics, play and extra-curricular? How did you know if a certain school was right for your family and your child? Did any of the schools offer special "perks" for you as parents that were especially appealing?

Can't wait to hear what you think! Thanks for helping me out.

"The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction."- Proverbs 16:21

Comments

Well, coming from the teaching side of it (I teach preschool for 4 year olds)..and parent side as well (you know I've got a bunch of kids)...I think you first have to decide what it is you hope your child will get out of preschool. I teach at a great play to learn preschool where we focus on the basics of learning...ABC's, 123's, shapes, colors and we do a lot of it through play, art projects, music and movement and manipulatives. There are parents that want their kids practically reading before they leave preschool, and in my opinion, that's just asking too much of kids. Plus they'll be bored in kindergarten! I think it is important to remember that preschool is essentially the place for the child to learn to be social, to learn how to listen and follow rules and classroom manners and how to get along with their peers. Socialization and exposure. You definitely want their first 'school' experience to be fun and inviting, hands-on, and filled with wonderful opportunities to explore and use their own individual creativity while being guided by warm and loving teachers. Wow, that was a mouthful...sorry...hope it was helpful though!
Cassidy Binder said…
When I was checking preschools for my son, I was looking for warm, caring teachers, a warm, inviting classroom, and fun ways to teach all of the basics. I ended up looking for awhile, before I found a church preschool, and loved it!!! I also kept him there for his pre-k classes, and they taught him some basic sight words to read, and he knew how to write his entire name, address and phone number at the end of the year. I think that it depends on what you want Deacon to take away from this, socializing most, or learning, because there are some that are more for fun play with some learning, and more focused equally on both, and then some, like montosori preschools, that are focused alot on learning (counting to ten in spanish, reading, writing, etc.), so it's up to you. Hope that helps some!!!
As a former Kindergarten teacher (I left when my son was born), and now my son is in preschool, this is what I look for.

Environment is key! Deacon will absorb the environment much faster than any academics on any given day. Make sure the room is bright, inviting, and you immediately feel welcome by the staff and even the other children.

Next, go for what YOU want for Deacon. Find out if they focus on academics through dittos, creative play, or not academics at all. A quick story...I completely misread a Montessori program that I enrolled my daughter in for preschool. It turned out to be ultra-academic. At first, I was annoyed that she wasn't coming home with paint splattered on her clothes, but then I found that she flourished in that environment. I would NEVER do that for my son. He would hate it and wouldn't learn a thing from it. All kids are different!

The most important thing to do is TRUST YOURSELF and if/when you enroll your son, listen and watch his body language. It will tell you the whole story.

GOOD LUCK!
Katy said…
We went with a program that used Abeka curriculum. Our kids were all reading before kindergarten. We liked that everyone had to be potty trained (so that wasn't a distraction to the teachers). Parents take turn bringing snacks - which we liked. We have to come in to drop off and pick up the child. Ours has chapel time, which was important to us. They take field trips to the park, pumpkin farm etc.

Around here, you don't ask the school questions, you just hope to get into one. Our kids were on the waiting list from the week they were born. I guess for us, we just always new where to go based on what other parents said. Think that is important, to hear input from other parents there.

Good luck! Such fun times ahead!!

~Kate
Brody's Mom said…
When we chose our son's preschool, we were blessed that we were fairly sure we wanted him to go there. Nonethelesss, some of the questions we asked were regarding their discipline policy, their schedule, their flexibility with kids being out/parents coming by early to pick them up, tolerance for illness (I can't come get him every time he sneezes, but I do want them to send him/other kids home if they are actually sick so they don't infect others), pricing, hours of availability, etc.
They also require a half-day of observation WITH a parent, which was wonderful! I got to know the teachers a bit, get familiar with the school, and help my son acclimate to his new class/classmates.
Overall, we just prayed about it and agreed that we both felt great about the setting and the care. We even have one of his teachers babysit for us now!

Good luck with your project!
Eleanor said…
For my three kids building a good academic foundation was really important to me. I wanted something that would really get them started on their academic journey. That being said, it had to be a warm caring environment with lots of fun and exploration time. I honestly never found that perfect place. My kids loved preschool, and they were well cared for and happy. They learned to write their names and they learned some of their letters, but I did most of the academic things I wanted for them at home. They all started kindergarten reading, but not because of preschool.
The Pelhams said…
I have a 5 year old, 3 almost 4 year old, and 1 almost 2 year old. My oldest went to a church preschool recommended by our pastor's family. All of their kids went there and my son thoroughly enjoyed it. We wanted warm, loving teachers, that taught and allowed prayers, the basics, shape recognition, counting, learning to write, learning colors, and social time just being a preschooler and getting to play and interact with other kids their age. This year we are in a different preschool. Still in a church. WE love it more than our other one. They have a small class size, only 13 children and 2 teachers. Have a small playground outside on the church grounds, and we get a phone call and email weekly with updates and if we have any questions! I would say ask others what they think about the school you are considering, know what you want your child to get out of preschool, and ask to go visit some during session. They are always happy to have visitors and of course would not be offended to have anyone come check them out.
balsamlakemom said…
We had a very bright child and if Deacon is as well, then you want to choose a program that stimulates and challenges and provokes interest. We chose such a place, and our son has been a high achiever ever since. The neurological development at this age is rampant, and no better place to promote that than in a high-challenge pre-school.
Kathy said…
Kenzie,

You have received some good advice here. Loved what asplashofsunshine wrote.

You have two very happy kids and that is THE most important, parents are the NUMBER ONE influence in a child's life.

That being said, school environment and loving, kind teachers that hold similar expectations for your children as you do is very important.

My children are grown, but we found a wonderful, fun, loving, awesome learning environment that is still going strong!

My kids also absolutely loved the children's program at Community Bible Study. Sunday school and later, mission trips and Christian college organizations rounded out their spiritual growth.

I think our children really learn how important school is when their parents are willing to make sacrifices (time (!)f, financial, homework, etc.)

One of our kids (mom's time to brag) has a Ph.D from Harvard and the other graduated from another
excellent university. (He won't even let us ever refer to him as "doctor" but he won't be reading this so I feel safe to brag here.)

I will be forever grateful to the wonderful teachers and great starts my kids received. God has shown me over the years my kids are His and He is looking out for their best according to His plans.

May this be a fun and exciting time for you and for
Deacon. Will pray for guidance and peace for you as you look at schools and make decisions.
Mills Family said…
I am not very particular. I wanted my kids to continue to be kids as long as they could, with a little extra educational help thrown in. One perk at my son's preschool was they had a one way mirror, where we could go into a room and watch them interact with the other kids, but they couldn't see us! Priceless!
Pam said…
Kenzie,
This has nothing to do with your post but I wanted to know if you would be so kind is to visit this families blog.
http://chadandnikki.blogspot.com/

Thanks
Doula Mama Pam
Kenzie said…
Sweet Pam-
Thank you so much... I've been following their blog for months now but I haven't checked in a week or so. Praying for God's precious comfort right now, which is the only thing that will get them through.
Thanks again for supporting us mamas,
Kenzie
Pam said…
Thank you so much Kenzie. I keep checking on them. We have e-mailed and leave comments on each other's blogs all the time. It has been a very precious time. Thanks again!!!!!!
Doula Mama
Anonymous said…
I taught 3 yr preschool for 2 years in the school all 3 of my kids attended. A wonderful environment of women who really love children and God. When I started looking for the right place for our firstborn to attend preschool, I asked "do you say grace before lunch and/or snack?". Easy question with a yes or no answer. If the answer was no, I knew that wasn't the place for my child.

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