Getting your child into a good learning center can make a huge difference for the rest of their life. The biggest challenge is finding a good childhood learning center to send your child to. These Childhood learning centers go by many names, preschools, daycare, childhood enrichment centers. They’re all talking about the same thing, but not every one of them is the same quality. It can be hard to know exactly which ones are going to be good and which ones are not going to be good, especially if this is your first time venturing into this.
There are some green flags and red flags to look for in preschool programs. Not every program is built the same, and it’s up to you as a parent to decide which one is going to be the best one for your child. That might sound like a big task but you’re already in charge of determining if things are going to be good for your child or not, this is just taking it to the educational level. So what should you look for and look out for in preschool programs before sending your child into something five days a week?
Don’t Think Too Much of the Price
Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that more expensive automatically means better. Of course, there are a lot of circumstances where this is true. There are also plenty of circumstances where this is not true. Sometimes things are just more expensive for the name of them. For example, a pair of Gucci jeans would cost you about $1,000 depending on where you go while a pair of Levi’s would cost you about $100. Gucci doesn’t make better jeans than Levi, it’s just a designer label so people are willing to pay more for it.
Preschools do a lot of the same things. Some preschools have a high cost just for the sake of the status symbol. We don’t have any qualms with someone picking a preschool because they want to flaunt their wealth a little bit. By all means, if you have the money to spend $10,000 a month on a preschool and that’s how you want to spend your money do it. We’re just writing an article about finding good preschools, how your spend your money is none of our business and we have absolutely no place to judge.
The point that we’re trying to make is that you want to make sure that the preschool you’re choosing actually has substance. There are programs that are entirely subsidized by the government that are better than some expensive programs, it really depends on the teacher, the plan, and the program itself. A good program doesn’t have to break the bank and a bad program doesn’t have to be cheap. In fact, a lot of times the best programs fall somewhere in the middle. A lot of people conflate expensive with good by default but that couldn’t be further from the truth in this situation.
Really, whatever your budget is you should be able to find a program that will work well for your child. Of course, not every program is going to look as good as some programs in the eyes of an ivy league college, but that’s not always the most important thing. Making sure that your child has the tools that they need to get to college and do well, no matter which college they go to, The skills that are taught at a good preschool will last a lifetime no matter where their life’s path leads them.
Look At The Way The Teacher Interacts With The Students
Children are people, just like you are. They’re living, breathing human beings with their own hopes, dreams, and fears. They might still be developing in their minds but that doesn’t make them any less human. That means that there is a right way to interact with children and there is a wrong way to interact with children. A good teacher will know the proper way to interact with children and will have the respect of their entire classroom while making it look easy.
There will, of course, be bad days. The teacher is a person just like the students, which means that sometimes the dynamic won’t work out just the right way. That being said, you can still tell a good teacher having a bad day from a bad teacher having a good day. One of the biggest ques is how they treat the children. Children are people and as such, they want to be treated with respect. Without that respect, children will feel as if they’re being patronized and that’s not good for anyone. Children want to be treated with respect just like you do.
A good teacher will maintain composure during the class and show the children how they should behave when things bother them. Children mirror us and they learn how to interact with each other by watching us. If a teacher is keeping their composure and calmly explaining to the children why they shouldn’t be doing bad things, there’s a good chance that they’re a good teacher. On the other hand, if a teacher loses their patience and lashes out at the children, that reflects poorly on their skills and shows that they can’t handle a classroom full of children.
The teacher should also get on the child’s level when speaking with them. Literally, the teacher should try to get themselves to as close to the child’s height as possible when speaking to them. That could mean sitting, crouching, kneeling, it doesn’t really matter so long as the teacher is getting down on the child’s level. This is actually something you can use with your children at home, too. Children respond a lot better when adults get down on their level and talk to them, rather than forcing the children to look up. This creates an equal power dynamic and makes the child feel thought of. Bad teachers are unlikely to do this.
Look at the Actual Classroom
For this one, you’re going to have to look through both the eyes of your inner child and your adult self. The preschool classroom should be a place that children would be excited to learn and play in. It should look like it was designed with children in mind. When you walk into the classroom you should ask yourself if you would have felt comfortable in the room when you were a child and if the answer is no that doesn’t bode well.
A well-planned preschool classroom will look like a place for children to learn. First and foremost, it should be colorful because the child’s mind reacts well to bright, colorful spaces. It should also have furniture and adornments that look like they were built for children. Cubbies that aren’t so tall that a child couldn’t reach into them, small desks, bookshelves, the list goes on. Most children wouldn’t have a lot of fun in a room that looks like it was designed for adults to learn in, and it also wouldn’t be the safest environment for children considering how small they are.
That brings us to the next thing to look for, safety. Let’s face facts, most children are at least a little clumsy. They get so wrapped up in playing that they don’t even notice that they’re about to run face-first into the sharp corner of the desk. The solution to this? No sharp corners. You should be able to look around the classroom and see that there are a lot of measures in place to make sure that children aren’t going to accidentally get hurt just by playing. Preschool classrooms should be a place that kids can be themselves and be safe doing so.
Lastly, there should be toys and those toys should be accessible without the help of an adult. We all know that kids love toys. You can hardly bring most children to a store without them asking for at least one toy. What would a preschool be without any toys? Not a very good preschool. The toys should also be designed to help the child learn. Everything in the room should either specifically be there for the safety of the child or to teach them either knowledge or skills. Any good preschool program will be able to provide that to your child.
Preparing for Tomorrow
We all want our children to be as successful as they can. Sometimes that means finding them a great preschool program to help them excel, no matter what they want to do with their lives. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to get things in order that will help them be the best people they can be when they grow up. Whether they end up being a business owner, firefighter, plumber, programmer, or anything else, there are certain skills that they’ll need to be sure that they can get to the places that they want to be. The earlier they start learning these skills, the better.