With the Preschool & Kid's Activities Fair this month I wanted to put something together to act as a launching point for those looking for a preschool. I gathered questions from other moms and used some of my own in this list. We all know that finding the right preschool (or private school) can be a challenge. Before you visit the Preschool fair or go to interview a potential preschool, read through the questions, find the ones that ring true to you and think about what answers you'd like to hear. That will help to give you a starting point to narrow down your search and zero in on the questions that will lead you to the school that is the best fit for your family.
• Do they follow a specific educational philosophy?
• Do they have a curriculum?
• Is there a schedule?
• What will the children learn?
• How do they account for different learning styles/flexibility for children with special needs?
• Do they incorporate music, art, and/or foreign language into their curriculum?
• Will the children get recess/physical activity time to develop gross & fine motor skills?
• Do children nap regularly?
• How do they handle discipline?
• Is potty-training required and if not: how do they handle potty training?
• What are the illness policies?
• How many kids are in a class or session?
• What is the teacher to student ratio?
• What is the educational background and experience of the teachers and staff?
• What is the turnover rate with your teachers?
• Are teachers and staff certified in CPR and/or First Aid?
• Are all staff background checked?
• Are meals and snacks provided?
• Can they accommodate kids with special diets/allergies?
• Can children bring their own meals?
• Do they offer field trips?
• Do they invite community organizations/guest speakers into the classroom?
• Do they offer any parent workshops?
• Are there family-friendly special events hosted throughout the year?
• Do they provide transportation?
• Do they offer field trips, and if so, how is transportation handled (consider the need for car seats)?
• Can parents come into the classroom?
• Are parents expected to help in class, and how often?
• Are parents expected to take on "roles" for the school like fundraising/cleaning crew/etc.
• Are there committees or board meetings you may attend and/or consider joining?
• What forms of communication do they utilize?
• How will parents be notified of problems/concerns?
• Will there be opportunities for parent/teacher conferences?
• Is there a newsletter sent periodically from the school? or the classroom?
• Are scholarships available for those who cannot afford full tuition?
• Does the school offer part-time rates for those who do not need full-time care?
• How many entrance/exit points are there?
• How are exits secured and monitored?
• Is the playground fenced?
• What additional security measures are in place?
Will the school provide references?
There is a lot you can learn from speaking to parents with students currently at the school. If you are able to do so, you will want to have some different questions ready to ask seasoned parents. Consider asking:
• What do you like the least and the most about the program?
• How is communication is handled?
• How does your child like the school?
My Favorite Question To Ask:
- What makes your school special?
- What is the most important thing we need to know about your school?
- Do we need to bring/have/or do anything to help make the school day easier for everyone?
When you tour the schools you are most interested in and pay special attention to how you and your child feel during the tour. Ask any questions you think of. Consider that there are no stupid questions. Being prepared with questions to ask is empowering and will help with making your decision. Remember to include that little voice inside you, your feelings, and your child's feelings in consideration of each facility as well.