The school where you choose to have your preschooler or kindergartner spend a significant portion of their day matters…a lot. When exploring your child care options, there are several things to keep in mind before you select the facility.
First, make sure the school is accredited. A school that is accredited tells the community, parents and the educational industry that the school adheres to a strict standard of operation. Further, children that attend preschools and kindergartens that are accredited have a better chance of being accepted into private schools as they move forward in their academic career, if this is the route you choose to go.
In addition to being accredited, another important component to look for is if the school offers hands-on learning activities and the use of developmentally-appropriate, open-ended materials. Learning through play and by being actively involved in a process or specific learning activity promotes and inspires more learning. The school should also promote creative expression and an appreciation of music, dance and art. This philosophy of learning helps children learn how to listen and share ideas while working collaboratively with others.
Next, the school should demonstrate a respect for all individuals – despite their creed, race, religion or physical challenge. By enabling your child to attend a school that is rich and diverse in its student population gives your child the wonderful opportunity to connect, at an early age, with children that may, at first, seem different from them. A demographically diverse school population promotes respect for all people and is especially important for younger children.
Finally, the child care option you select must promote health and safety. The physical environment should be free from obstructions that could hurt a child; it should be far enough away from a busy street, and it should be maintained and sterilized on an ongoing basis to significantly reduce the chance of germs being spread.
Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and Child Day Care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and child care programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.