For many parents, choosing a preschool is the first time you have to make a decision about your child’s education. And while it’s an important decision, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a hard one. In his op-ed for the New York Times, “How to Pick a Preschool in Less than an Hour,” education researcher David L. Kirp lays out some simple steps for parents to make a quick choice about what’s best for their child.
According to Mr. Kirp, you can learn everything you need to know about a school during a single visit. Here are his tips for evaluating preschools when you visit the classroom:
- Watch what’s happening in the classroom closely. If you find yourself wishing you could’ve gone to school there, that’s a good sign!
- Take note of what the children are doing. Are they busy with activities? Are they engaged? These are good signs, too. If the children look bored or are racing around, the education model clearly isn’t serving them well. Notice whether there are a variety of activities for children to try.
- Pay attention to how the teacher talks to the children. Is the teacher delivering orders at the children, or engaging them in conversation?
- How does the room look? Again, everything in the room should be geared towards engaging children. Look for walls decorated with children’s artwork. If the classroom walls showcase generic posters that appeal to adults, it’s a sign that the focus isn’t on early childhood education. If the walls are covered in students’ creations, you know their development and creativity is valued.
- Take note of the children in the class and how they respond to you. Do they say hello and return to what they were doing? This signifies that they are developing social skills, but also that they are engaged by the activities they are doing. Take note of the diversity of the class. Being around children from different cultures and backgrounds can only benefit your child.
With these suggestions in mind, you’ll be able to make an informed decision regarding your child’s early education. You can read Mr. Kirp’s full op-ed in the New York Times here, complete with colorful descriptions of classrooms he visited himself.
To schedule a classroom visit, please contact First Presbyterian Preschool today at 915-532-6157.