When you begin the search for a preschool, you’ll likely have a few questions as you consider your options. What is a preschool? Why is preschool important? What are the age requirements for preschool? How do you choose the perfect program for your child? You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the task. This article is an ultimate guide to help you pick the right program for your child.
What Is Preschool?
A preschool is an academic institute that offers early childhood education to young kids before they reach kindergarten age. Preschool is optional, though many families choose to enroll their children. Some public school districts offer preschool, but many preschools are privately owned.
Like other private schools, private preschools can earn accreditation to show their school meets specific standards. Cognia is a professional education team that does thorough, on-site reviews of schools. Top-rated private schools like Las Vegas Day School use accreditation to provide parents with verification that the academic standards are being met. If you have a school in mind, make sure to check its accreditation.
Why Is Preschool Important?
Research shows that children who have been to preschool are more likely to have higher cognitive abilities and better academic achievements later in life. A great preschool program provides a firm foundation for young students’ future success. A well-rounded preschool program helps children develop essential social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills.
How Much Does Preschool Cost?
Here in Nevada, the State Department of Education offers a free preschool program, but it’s limited to families whose income is 200% below the poverty line. For most private schools, parents are responsible for the expense. According to Private School Review, the average private preschool tuition in 2022 in Nevada is $10,649 per year. Las Vegas Day School offers flexible plans depending on individual families’ needs: annual tuition starts from $7,400 for 2-day/week and goes up to $14,150 for a five-day program. Parents can also choose to pay monthly.
What Are the Preschool Age Requirements?
The age requirements vary depending on the state and the specific program. Most preschools start around age 3, as this is when many children start developing social relationships. They demonstrate more independence and can benefit from being in a new setting with peers and adults. Most schools require the kids to be potty trained and able to handle their toileting needs before beginning preschool.
How To Choose a Preschool
It is always a good idea to start your research early, because popular programs have limited space and they fill up quickly. The best way to make sure all your questions and concerns get addressed is to schedule an in-person visit to the school as soon as possible. It’s recommended to visit the school on your own first, and then schedule a follow-up visit with your child to see whether they like the environment. But before you go, read the five-point checklist below which helps you narrow down your choices strategically:
1. Consider the Overall Learning Environment
A safe and positive environment is the key factor in promoting a child’s growth, academically, socially, and emotionally. It’s not hard to detect whether the vibe of a classroom is happy and energetic or cold and rigid. Are the classrooms chaotic or organized? Are the kids bored or excited? Learning is fun, and it should be fun. Aside from learning academics, it is also important to learn to be kind and empathetic to others. An effective learning environment is one where the students respect the teachers and each other, but are not afraid to ask questions or offer a different opinion.
2. Learn About the Quality of Teachers
The backbone of a great school is great teachers. Early education is a special area that demands years of training. It is important to see if all the teachers are required to be licensed by the Department of Education in your state and continue to take education courses to maintain their licenses. Although public schools generally require all teachers to be licensed, that’s not the case for private schools. After all, you want your kids to be under the supervision of a trustworthy educator. Las Vegas Day School requires all its teaching staff to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and approximately 66% of their teachers have master’s degrees.
3. Review the Curriculum
You can always request to read a preschool’s curriculum sample. Preschool academic development generally involves the kids learning to read and write the English alphabet, identify uppercase and lowercase, and read and write their names. They also learn about fundamental colors, shapes, and numbers from 0 to 20. A great curriculum is measurable, theme-based, and comprehensive, and it should cover introductory writing skills, math, social studies, and science.
4. Consider the Physical Development Curriculum
It is also important to check out the school’s physical development curriculum. Does the school have adequate and safe equipment and resources for students? Are there well-trained instructors to facilitate the students with exercise, group games, and indoor/outdoor play? We all know how kids love to move, run, and play. A great preschool will certainly highlight how they integrate that aspect into their programming to motivate their students to grow.
5. Look at the Specials
Every child is a unique individual. Every family has different priorities and needs. Are you looking to have your child learn a second language? Is your child into music, art, or sports? Some preschools offer special programs after regular classroom times. It is not only a great way to help foster your child’s interests, enhance their creativity, and develop their potential, but it’s also a great way to help them build confidence and make friends with their like-minded peers.
Start your research today by screening your preschool options with the five aforementioned factors in mind, listing your priorities and questions, and scheduling a visit. With all the great options available these days, finding the perfect program for your child should be no problem.
Categorized in: Education