Many people assume that real education starts in kindergarten, and that pre kindergarten is just a glorified day care for children of working parents. But early education has been shown to be a key factor in later academic and social achievement, with children who received a pre kindergarten education going on to pursue higher degree levels and even having fewer run-ins, on average, with law enforcement. So how can you choose the best preschool programs to give your child these advantages? Here are some things to compare during your search:
- Educational Strategies
There are numerous curriculum paths and philosophies associated with early childhood education, most of them play-based. There are some well-established systems (KinderCare, Montessori, Waldorf), and these can act as shortcuts in your search if you have specific attributes in mind. But you should also ask to observe how the classrooms are conducted, or at the very least ask specific questions: Is play guided, or not? Are there desks? What specifically educational toys are provided? What skills are children expected to learn?
- Emotional Skill Building
Socialization is an important aspect of preschool, and private schools in particular create curriculum to encourage traits such as leadership and cooperation. Also ask how schools help children with problem-solving, conflict resolution and similar concerns when it comes to curriculum.
- Activity Selection
A well-rounded pre kindergarten program should contain a good balance between individual and group activities, as well as indoor and outdoor activities. Look for music and art programs, as well as a robust sports or outdoor recreation system; the habits children build at this young age will support them for many years to come.
- Parent Involvement Rates
Private schools are known for allowing parents a very healthy amount of involvement in the education of their children. You should ask how often parents volunteer with the school and ensure that lines up with your preferences and availability.
- Academic Track Records
While most early education programs don’t specifically focus on academic tasks such as homework and tests, it’s important to make sure former students of any preschool you consider have gone on to be successful in later stages of schooling. Most schools should be able to provide you with statistics or parent testimonials regarding the program; ask to speak with some other parents in person, if at all possible, to get the whole picture.
The bottom line is that when choosing a pre kindergarten program, it’s important to put in a fair amount of research, visit in person and talk to teachers and other parents. The Internet might be a good place to start, but typing “best preschool in coconut creek ” or “early education coconut creek” into Google and choosing the first result won’t necessarily benefit your child.