next week, there is a preschool fair where area preschools each have a table, and we can go round and talk to them. I am still unsure if DS will go to preschool, but I want to go and learn about area ones since many of them have enrollment in Jan/Feb and are full after that. I have no idea what to ask when I go. What kind of questions did you ask when you looked at preschools?
Off the top of my head, number of kids, ratio of kids to teachers, discipline policy, schedule in his classroom, cost and flexibility if any of their policies don't work for you. Obviously you have to see a place but you could probably eliminate some of them based on the above.
My chalk loving 2 1/2 y.o. boys!
I would ask about teacher retention - average time of employment of teachers and aides. What are their meal policies? If they provide meals, I would ask for a sample menu. What sort of curriculum they use, if any. What, if any, accreditations do they have? What is their philosophy on various learning styles and teaching methods - this especially if you think your DS would benefit from a particular environment.
Those are just off the top of my head, if I think of more, I'll come back.
Oh, if they go on fieldtrips? If so, how many on average per month/quarter. The volunteer policy for the school. If parents are required to volunteer for a specific amount of hours per month. What is their sign-in/sign-out policy?
Originally Posted by Ky'sMom
These are great question. I think you have said before that your DS1 is very shy, I would also ask the schools I like what they would do to adjust him to a classroom. How much flexibility they would have for his adjustment. Also, what is their way of communicating with the parent - report cards, emails, calls? How responsive the teachers are to parents' questions?
How much do the kids spend outdoors? Many boys this age need fresh air to function well in the classroom.
Do they have purely academic curriculum or do they also work a lot on their development through play - gross motor, fine motor, sensory play, stories, show and tell and others. I find that boys tend to do a lot better in more developmental preschools as opposed to more academic preschools where girls often thrive. (This is obviously a generalization but true in many cases.) I mean every school is going to have pretend play and play in addition to academics but some schools put a special emphasis on texture, ability to narrate, stories, crafts, cooking etc. This was especially true for my DS1 who is obsessive and likes certain things without showing interest in others, so, developmental schools actually broaden his horizon and he learns a lot.
Another thought. My DS1 is a more high strung child who lacks skills in certain areas. I had to hand-pick his school after interviewing EVERY school in the area, literally EVERY SCHOOL. My primary focus was how the school will help us solve his issues, how it will work with us, how experienced they are, how well will they prepare him for kinder. I do NOT want to homeschool (not because it is bad but because I will go absolutely insane) and I do not want to pay for private. I felt that my DS1 needed to be socially and academically prepared for kinder and I needed a good school to help me and him work on his weak areas.
My DS2, on the other hand, is a fairly standard child who develops well and has no particular needs or problems. For him, I would look for a decent school, decent food, close distance, decent tuition, preferably Christian. For DS1 I needed and felt that he needed a school that meets his developmental needs and personality quirks rather than paying less, have a Christian environment, being very close etc. With him, I was ready to go the extra mile in every aspect. DS2 now goes to his preschool but only because DS1 is there already. Does that make sense?
Everyone had such great questions, thatnks so much!!
Originally Posted by tanyachap
DS1 is shy, but he is actually beginning to come out of his shell. I think I would prefer a more play-based school since my only reason for thinking of preschool is the social aspect, not the academic. We do some formal "lessons"/activities at home (he begs for them!) and he does very well with them. However, I think he would benefit from a less formal environment. I actually wish I could homeschool, but DH is against it, so the plan now is to see how he does. So, I would like him to be prepared socially and emotionally for kinder, but I am not worried about his being academically prepared, since I do think that is one of his strengths.
It sounds like you know exactly what he needs and those will be my main questions. If he is shy and separates with difficulty, I would be mainly concerened with how they work on that, how much they allow the parent to do, how they transition them from activity to activity, sample curriculum (if they have too many transitions and go to many different places) the chances are that would make him anxious etc. Some schools I interviewed were pretty strict and I could not imagine DS1 doing well there. One school seemed great but the director was so overpowering and opiniated that I was put off. I later met a mom who had her sensitive boy enrolled there and she majorly crashed with the director over her sons separation anxiety. Basically the director told the mom to just drop him off and if he is crying the staff will handle it. The mom felt that is was not going to work for her son but the director did not want to listen to her. So listen to your gut too.
Originally Posted by i.<3.cheesysmiles
Thank you! Next week, I am not sure if I will be able to go that in deep with questions. I would definitely be put off by a response like that...that the staff would deal with it! I am not sure if I can ask those type of questions, but I will definitely when we go visit some of the schools.
Originally Posted by tanyachap