Hello there everyone! I am sorry for not being able to update the blog these past few days. I’ve been busy scouting, shortlisting and visiting some schools for Noa. She’s finally going to school this coming June. I am feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness because I think this is the start of me letting her go gradually. Also, forgive me if I can’t fully disclose the list of schools that I have for security and privacy reasons.
Also, after praying and studying our current circumstances, I’ve come to decide not to pursue homeschooling. As to my reasons why, I am parking the discussion for another blog post.
Choosing the most appropriate preschool for our child is very crucial since this is their first step on the formal education ladder. We do not want our kids to feel pressured and unhappy as we send them to preschool. Hence, we should be able to discern and find the best preschool that shares the same set of values to partner with us in educating our children.
Noa had a trial class last Friday in one of the schools that we are seriously considering. She seemed to like the most part of this prospective Kindergarten school that we visited. The school directress and I gave Noa some leeway because it’s her first time participating in an actual preschool class setting including all its routines and with actual teachers and students.
However, I still hope to share with you my journey as I aim to choose the school which I think would suit Noa best. I am so glad that I stumbled into the February issue of the Working Mom Magazine that talks about the things that we should consider and know about the different education options today. It inspired me to pen down these thoughts and adapted some of the important portions of the article.
According to the magazine article that I read, here are some the things that we should carefully evaluate when choosing a school for our children:
5 Things We Should Consider When Choosing a Preschool
- Know the school’s philosophy — It is very important for us parents to know the kind of curriculum that the preschool offers. According to a veteran childhood educator Joanne Hafalla, “It is important to find out the school’s focus of learning and how it can help in the development of your child. Choose the preschool that provides more opportunities for children to explore, make choices and learn independently.” If I say school philosophy, I believe this should also include matters of the faith or religious practices of the preschool that we are considering. Bottom line, a preschool should be an avenue for our child to develop holistically and that involves his spirituality.
- Set a visit — I strongly believe in visiting the preschool that we are eyeing for our child. When we do this, we get to have a feel of the preschool real-time. We can also take note of the class routines, class size, classroom space, teacher-student ratio, and the overall classroom/behavior management techniques of the teachers. It is also suggested that we should watch out if the children are outnumbered by adults for accompanied class as this will result to the child interacting more with grown-ups that with his or her classmates.
- Study the practices — Observe how a typical day is like for the students. We can look for a sample of activities, different learning areas in the classroom where the students can engage in pretend play, reading, arts and crafts. We can also check if the preschool has enough materials to help develop our child’s fine motor skills and encourage prewriting activities or avenues for gross motor play. We should also learn about how the preschool’s method in providing feedback regarding a child’s behavior and progress in school. Request for a trial class or attend a summer program that the preschool offers for a better understanding of what they do.
- Examine safety and security measures — I remember Noa once said, “I like this school Mommy because it has Kuya Guard (security guard).” It was a surprising remark coming from my 3-year-old to consider about her own safety while in preschool. My husband and I place so much value into a preschool who knows how to observe good security protocols (since you all know that my husband works around security a lot). We can ask the preschool about their policy on child release, drop-off-pick-up, occasional accidents, and sick kids. Determine if the teachers and staff are trained and experienced enough to handle emergencies and the methods that the school employs in times of emergencies (fire drill, earthquake drill).
- Inquire about practical matters — Know the schedule of classes like the time and duration and whether or not we have the option to choose morning or afternoon class. Also consider the preschool’s accessibility. The preschool’s location and proximity to our homes or work is very important in case we need to be with our child right away. At the core of this practical matter is of course the cost of our investment in our child’s education, miscellaneous expenses, uniform, books, field trips, etc. and decide whether it’s within our family budget.
Here are some of the questions that we could ask ourselves and the preschool:
Questions to ask the Preschool:
- What program or curriculum do the teachers use?
- How are the children assessed?
- How large are the classes, and what is the student-teacher ratio?
- What are the regular classroom activities?
- How much time do students spend filling out worksheets?
- Are there active play opportunities to develop gross or fine motor skills?
- How do parents get involved in the school?
- How is information communicated to parents?
- At what point do you notify the parents in case of emergency or disciplinary issues?
- How safe is your school?
- What is the procedure in case of an emergency?
- How much is the tuition rate for my __ year-old son/daughter?
- Is the tuition due weekly, monthly, annually?
- What other expenses will be incurred in addition to tuition throughout the school year?
- Do you have a summer program that my child could participate in?
- Who assists or takes care of the child when he or she wants to pee or poop while in preschool?
Questions to ask yourself after the school visit:
- Are the children happy?
- Do the teachers seem to know and like what they are doing?
- Do the teachers handle the children in a kind, happy, caring manner?
- Is the preschool clean? (work space, playground, bathroom, etc.)
- Does the school seem safe? Do they have complete security and safety equipment? (first-aid kit, fence around the playground, locked doors, etc.)?
- Will my child be happy in this school?
- How do I feel about the preschool’s distance from our home?
Our quest of finding the most appropriate preschool for Noa is not over yet. I still have a few preschools in mind to visit but since I am armed with these guidelines, I am capable of arriving at an informed decision where to send Noa for preschool.
Do you still have some ideas that you wish to add that you think is equally important to consider when choosing the best preschool for our children? ♥