Landmarks of a GREAT Preschool
Finding a Great Preschool
By America’s Nanny Michelle LaRowe – For children aged 3 to 5, preschool can be a positive first introduction to the classroom.
Preschool provides an opportunity for children to develop important social skills, in addition to academic fundamentals. Preschool allows for children to learn to interact and play with others, to interact with a teacher, to wait and take turns and to listen and follow instructions.
A GREAT preschool program should have:
1. An understanding that kids learn through play.
2. Happy kids that look forward to going to school.
3. A variety of activities for children to participate in including blocks, puzzles, arts and crafts and props for pretend.
4. A structured day that allows for circle time, outside time, play time, rest time and snack time.
5. Lots of picture books for reading and story books that are read to children individually and in groups.
6. Toys that are organized and arranged in a way that promotes play.
7. A well trained staff (and low staff turnover) that interacts with children in groups and individually.
8. Appropriate licenses and accreditations.
9. A low teacher to student ratio of no more than 10 preschool aged children per teacher.44
10. A good reputation in the community.
11. A curriculum that allows for children to learn at their own pace.
12. Clearly communicated policies and procedures as well as a learning philosophy that meshes with yours.
The Importance of NAEYC Accreditation
The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers a voluntary accreditation program for preschools. Programs that have been accredited by the NAEYC meet the standards of excellence that the association has established for health, safety and education. To find a NAEYC accredited program in your area, visit www.naeyc.org.
Before signing your child up for a preschool program:
- Do your research. Know what type of philosophy the program embraces and determine if that philosophy best suits the needs of your child. A preschool that is rooted in the group oriented Waldorf philosophy may be better for some children, while the Montessori style of individualized education may be best for others.
- Start your search early. Quality programs often have long waiting lists (read years!) so it’s important that you reserve a slot in your favorite program as soon as possible.
- Visit with and without your child. You’ll want to be sure that the school practices what it preaches and that your child feels comfortable in the environment.
- Interview your child’s potential teacher. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of who your child’s teacher would be, her classroom expectations and what her style of teaching is.
Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?
If you can answer yes to these 8 questions, your child may benefit and enjoy attending a quality preschool program.
1. Is your child independent?
2. Does your child do well being away from you for long periods of time?
3. Can he complete small arts and crafts projects with minimal assistance?
4. Is he completely potty trained?
5. Does he do well in groups of other children?
6. Is she used to being on a regular schedule?
7. Can he physically and emotionally handle an entire day of play?
8. Is he used to just taking one afternoon nap?
Excerpted and adapted from “A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists” by Michelle LaRowe published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, January 2010.
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Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non-profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors.
She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert and has been affectionately dubbed America's Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print.
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Books by Michelle LaRowe
A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity - Grocery lists. Checklists. To-do lists. Lots of people love--and live by--lists. And parents are no exception. Today's families are busier than ever, and moms don't have the time or energy to search and scramble for the parenting information they are desperately seeking. This handy, practical reference guide will save time, money, and sanity for today's busy women.
Working Mom's 411 is your one-stop resource guide for navigating through the often choppy waters of managing kids, career and home.
Nanny to the Rescue - America's nanny offers a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced babies and toddlers.
Nanny To the Rescue Again - Faced with multiple choices regarding school, friends, and activities coupled with the ever-widening influence of the outside world, parents of 6-12-year-olds need help. America's nanny is back to offer a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced children.
To learn more, visit www.michellelarowe.com
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