How to Select a Preschool Program – 5 Tips for Parents

Choosing a preschool program that is the right fit for your child and family is essential in setting them up for success in their future educational environments. Preschool programs give children a foundation for learning by building strong social-emotional skills they will need for success. It’s not immediately clear what, exactly, makes one program better than the next. These programs are not mandatory for children, but a quality program can help kids, typically in the three to four-year-old range, get used to the routines of Kindergarten and elementary school. There are many preschools to choose from, so how do parents select a quality program?

1. Nurturing, Playful Setting

When reviewing your various options for your child’s preschool program, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to consider. 

  • How much play is involved in their learning throughout the day? Oftentimes, children learn important skills such as vocabulary, pre-math skills, and self-control through play, whether they realize it or not. 
  • Physical activity is just as important as mental learning. Ask about the program’s frequency of breaks and how often the kids get time to run and play together. 
  • If possible, daily outside time is also just as critical to their development, so ask the program that you’re considering if they have outdoor space or a play area for the children to run, climb, swing, and use some of that built-up energy!
  • Do the teachers build trust with the children by doing small things such as speaking in calm, positive tones and getting down at eye level with them? This is also important when building positive relationships between the teacher and child. 

2. Facility Safety and Environment

A great preschool will be brightly lit with vibrant colors, open spaces, and kid-sized facilities. This means drinking fountains, toilets, and sinks are well within the reach of these pint-sized tots. Some other safety factors can include rounded edges, low shelves with no possibility of being pulled over onto the kids, and toxic chemicals well out of reach. All kids should be visible to teachers, from all corners and spaces in the room, at all times. At Basal, everything is at child height, our bathrooms are built for smaller kids, and our spaces are designed to encourage creativity.

3. Teaching Quality

From the outside looking in, it may seem that preschoolers are just having fun. A quality teaching environment focuses on learning necessary skills through fun and engaging activities. Many of these activities are focusing on teamwork and cooperation. For the most part, kids at this age are learning the “what,” such as mixing colors or building block towers. This sets them up to learn the “why” and “how” as they advance in their education. Don’t hesitate to ask the teacher to explain the purpose of a child’s play.

A good teacher understands the limit of a child’s attention span and will provide frequent changes of direction for the class, but look for a good balance of self-directed and teacher-supervised activities.

4. Effective Teacher/Student Communication

Kids within the preschool should feel their teachers are approachable and supportive. Effective teachers show their connections with their students by creating eye contact, and getting down to a student’s physical level to communicate. Kids learn best when they feel comfortable and supported by their teachers.

5. Student Achievements

No one expects a preschooler to write a book report on War and Peace, but the majority of students in a classroom will show improvements in social skills and engagement, comprehension, cooperation, and communication. This is easy to spot when you see a classroom full of kids taking turns, showing sympathy and empathy, and controlling their impulses.

Kids at this stage can be reasonably expected to turn the pages of a book, understand very simple early math concepts like counting, identify simplistic shapes, and identify some letters and numbers.

Choose the Best Preschool: Choose Basal!

If you’re looking for a facility that provides specialized instruction in a supportive environment, Basal has some of the best preschool programs available in the Frederick area. Featuring both a preschool readiness program for two-year-olds and a preschool program for ages three and four, our programs give kids the skills they need to thrive in kindergarten. Each day, our teams of professionals are on-hand to give your child the individualized instruction they need, including our Special Education professionals, Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, and Mental Health Counselors. These teams provide daily:

  • Therapeutic Enrichment
  • Developmental Center Play
  • Small-Group Rotations
  • Snacks
  • Literacy Large Group Activity
  • Numeracy Large Group Activity
  • Gross Motor Play

Contact us today to get your preschooler started on the right path to a good foundation for their education and the development of social skills they will need, both in kindergarten and throughout life.