Your child may be just three or four years old, but this first year that they spend in school will be highly formative. The knowledge they gain in preschool will form the basis of their education as they continue to grow and learn. They should also learn social skills, how to listen to leadership, and fine motor skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. So how do you know that a particular preschool program is a good one and will get your child off to the right start? Look for these five signs of a good preschool program.
1. Educated Faculty
Ask to see the credentials of the teachers and administrators at the preschool. Teachers should have focused education in early childhood education, and the administrators should preferably have advanced degrees. The subject matter teachers are teaching at this level may not be difficult, but teaching it effectively to such young children is — and teachers with a good education tend to do a better job of it.
2. Science and Math
Some preschools choose to focus only on reading, writing, and speaking with their students. This approach is okay, but better programs include some math and science in their curricula. Including these subjects early on helps children start to think in different ways. Don't expect a program to teach math and science each day, but a weekly science lesson and math practice a few times per week is ideal.
3. Room for Creativity
When you visit a preschool, look for artwork on the walls and other signs that children are allowed to be creative. Rote learning is important, but at this stage, so is letting children create and explore their own minds and interests. The best preschools give kids plenty of time to draw, paint, create music, and so forth.
4. Snack Time
Chances are, when your child is at home, they do not eat just a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- they also eat snacks throughout the day. Snacks are important for growing kids who have small stomachs but high calorie needs. Look for a preschool that has snack time at least once a day so you know your child will be well-nourished.
5. Physical Activity
A preschool does not need to offer physical education classes, but there should be time for kids to run around and be active. A 20-minute recess in the afternoon should suffice. Make sure the area where the kids play offers a variety of activities, such as a playground, balls, and basketball hoops.
If you find a preschool that offers all of the elements above, it is a great place to send your child.