The word pre-school can bring a lot of things to mind. Classrooms with bright-eyed students learning their ABC’s, cutting out shapes on color construction paper and hours of snacks, naps and playtime.
If this is what comes to mind for you, the good news is you’re not wrong and none of this is a bad thing. In fact, pre-school is an important part of childhood development. It’s the first place many children develop a relationship with learning and working with others. The best part? Pre-schools today are offering a lot more.
Research shows that children who attend pre-school programs that introduce books and arithmetic beyond learning letters and numbers enter kindergarten with stronger reading and mathskills.
Attending a high-quality pre-school program is an investment for your child and sets them up for success. Below are more benefits and things to look for in a high-quality program:
- Engaged Teachers – Sounds simple enough, but taking a visit to a classroom before enrolling your child allows you to see how the teacher runs the classroom. Is he or she friendly? Educated in early childhood education? (don’t be afraid to ask for credentials) Can they adapt? Good teachers are able to adjust their style to fit the needs of several different kinds of children, after all we all learn differently.
- A Safe Environment – Is the facility clean and safe? Keep your eye out for smoke detectors and first-aid kits. Is there a well-kept outdoor play area? Are there plenty of art materials, age-appropriate toys, and books? Are they in good condition? Is the atmosphere friendly and fun?
- Is the School a Fit – Did you know that only 8 percent of U.S. pre-schools are accredited? Visit rightchoiceforkids.org to find a suitable program near you.