So, how do I find the best preschool near me…?
Finding the best preschool near me…
Finding a great preschool nearby can be a pretty stressful task for parents.
While some settings will offer useful advice and reassurances to nervous parents, others may not be so forthcoming.
Some preschoolers will take the transition to preschool in their stride while others will find it a much more challenging time.
What should I look for in a preschool near me?
Contrary to what you might think, inspection reports do not tell the whole story.
Obviously, you’ll want to know that child protection procedures and the health and safety stuff is in order but there is much more to finding the best preschool nearby than an inspectors report…
1. How do you handle difficult transitions?
Finding a preschool near you that truly understands attachment theory and toddler development will really help your child to make a smooth transition.
Many establishments will talk the talk but a place that truly understands will be willing (and keen) to approach this transition together.
They’ll be willing to set aside time to find out what matters to your child…their favorite song, toy, game etc.
Far too many times I’ve seen a screaming child wrenched from his mother’s arms because “he’ll be fine when you’re gone”.
A pre-school that understands attachment theory won’t try to distract your child or cajole them into cheering up. They will acknowledge your child’s feelings and comfort them.
2. What do you expect from my child?
Don’t be afraid to talk to preschool staff about the expectations they have for the children in their care.
Anyone who understands toddler development would not expect them to sit still for extended periods or force them to share a toy.
3. Can I talk to you about my child?
You’ll be leaving your child in the care of these people so you want a pre-school that respects that responsibility enough to spend some time talking to you.
However, silly you feel you must ask the questions that are on your mind…those little niggles won’t go away and they will be the worries that keep you awake at night.
So, talk to staff and make sure that you feel comfortable talking to them.
4. How much time do you spend outdoors?
Unsurprisingly there are science-backed reasons why our toddlers should be spending several hours outside every day.
Enjoying and exploring the natural world not only encourages a child’s physical development but also improves cognitive functions too.
A preschool with outdoor space is great option. Better still a forest school type setting where time spent outside is the focus.
5. How do you respond to toddler meltdowns?
This would be top of my ” finding the best preschool near me” list!
Children who are treated with kindness and compassion are much more likely to grow up to be kind and compassionate.
Ask the preschools nearby how they would handle a specific situation e.g. my child refusing to share a toy or hit another child.
Choose a preschool that aligns with your parenting style.
7. Are you a ‘yes’ environment?
This doesn’t mean that we need a setting where our kids will be allowed to do what they want all day long.
It’s about creating a “yes” environment where toddlers can thrive.
“Yes” environments are places where adults don’t have to say “no” constantly.
For example, my friend told me recently about a nursery that had decorated their outdoor area with beautifully colored stones BUT the kids weren’t allowed to touch them!
That is a “no” environment and is not a happy place to be…especially if you’re a toddler who developmentally has no self-control.
Toddlers need clear, simple and logical rules that are in place to keep them safe.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful a place looks if it’s been created for the benefit of the adults rather than the preschoolers.
8. How do you teach social skills?
The most important things that toddlers need to learn are things that happen naturally throughout the course of the day.
Social interactions are a big deal during toddler-hood and having an adult close-by will help to make sure that theynare valuable learning experiences.
Toddlers who are left alone to resolve issues will often become frustrated or anxious and resort to hitting, biting or kicking.
Good preschools will understand their role in guiding these social interactions.
9. How do you teach the kids?
The wonderful thing about toddlers is that they are such eager learners.
Early years education should focus on play, be flexible and follow a child’s interests.
There is absolutely no benefit to teaching reading and writing before a child is ready.
Research shows the opposite to be true infact, with later readers not only performing as well but also retaining their enthusiasm.
I hope this list of things I’d consider if I were looking for a preschool near me has helped you in your search. Good luck! xxx