The first and most important job of parents is to provide unconditional love for their children. One of the follow-ups for that job is to help the children meet their potentials. Education is one of the most effective ways for achieving that. Thus, it is crucial to choose the best possible kindergarten which will, early on, provide an environment that encourages learning, socializing, and thinking independently. Such a major decision with various consequences that will follow the children through their further education and life should not be made lightly. Here are the questions parents must ask before choosing a kindergarten.
- Is the Child Ready?
In some states, starting preschool education is not mandatory. In others, there is only one year of kindergarten education required, so it is best to first observe the child’s needs and capabilities. If the child can be moderately independent (put on a coat and shoes, go to the bathroom by him/herself, spend time without having parents around, get along with other kids, etc.), kindergarten sounds like a great idea.
- What Is the School’s Educational Philosophy?
When researching different kindergartens, it is essential to check the educational methodology applied in every one of them. Besides the conventional approach, there are three progressive preschool education methods: Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and High/Scope. All of them are cultivating the passion for learning, exploring, and playing with other kids. Still, the Montessori method offers several additional benefits, such as learning self-discipline, inspiring creativity, developing certain skills, and focusing on hands-on learning.
- Does the School Meet Your Needs?
A child’s needs are, of course, a priority, but there are certain things that will make parents’ life much more difficult if left unchecked. First, take the kindergarten proximity into consideration. If you do not have enough time to drive your child every day to a remote location or there is no available school bus transport to your home, that can pose a big problem. Also, significant factors in your decision should be curriculum structure, school amenities (playground, physical activity time, etc.), your financial situation, and special interests (arts, languages, sports, etc.).
- Do You Like the Teachers?
This question includes the teacher’s credentials, other parents’ recommendations, and the teacher’s personality. Because your child will be separated from you, perhaps for the first time ever, you have the right to decide who will take care of him/her. Meet the principal of the school and try to see if you can choose the teacher. Also, discuss with other parents and ask for their impressions about some teachers.
- Will Your Child Get the Needed Attention?
This mostly depends on the teacher/kids ratio. Ideally, it should be 1:18. Some children would be unintentionally given less attention in a more crowded class and would participate less in the activities. The “needed attention” also means that the teacher should discuss with parents the specific strengths, weaknesses, and talents of their children. Also, parents should be involved in the educational process so that they could, together with the educators, help their children thrive.
The search for the right kindergarten sounds intimidating at the beginning. You are supposed to give your child several times a week to some strangers who will have a part in his/her growing up. Still, if you do your research right, ask all the necessary questions and address your concerns, everything should be fine.