Summer has just begun, but all across the nation, parents are already determining where they might want to send their children for preschool in the fall. And since the percentage of three- to five-year-olds enrolled in preprimary programs grew from 59% to 65% between 1990 and 2000, more parents are choosing this option than ever before. That’s why finding the right preschool for your child’s needs is so important. But because every family is different — as is every school — you need to find a program that will help your child develop emotionally, socially, and mentally. And while it’s crucial that the school you choose will provide a high quality education, there are other things to look for in a preschool, too.
To that end, you’ll want to avoid making the following three mistakes when choosing a preschool program for your child.
- Deciding based on academics alone
When your focus is on finding the right preschool for your young one, you may be tempted to choose the program that highlights academic offerings above all else. While these activities can provide your child with the grade school readiness they’ll need in the coming years, it’s not only about academic abilities. Your child will also need to acquire social skills and emotional development, both of which can help them become more independent and think creatively. Giving kids space to play and socialize is just as important as any other part of their early education. When you look at the different preschools in your area, make sure to inquire about their non-academic offerings, too.
- Choosing based on word of mouth alone
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting preschool recommendations from friends, family members, and neighbors. But keep in mind that every child is different; what worked well for their situation may not be as ideal for yours. It’s fine to use this guidance as a jumping-off point, but don’t make your decision solely based on the fact that so-and-so’s child attended the preschool down the block. Feel free to check out these schools in your search, but be sure to ask the questions that are most relevant to your parenting style and your child’s unique requirements. That way, you’ll end up choosing a program that actually works for your family.
- Settling on the first or only program you find
Sometimes, the first preschool you look into will, in fact, be the best choice for your family. But it’s still a good idea to explore other options at your disposal before making a final decision. This will allow you to be secure in the knowledge that you truly made the right choice instead of wondering what else is out there. In certain cases, enrolling in the only preschool in your area could actually be detrimental to your child. Take the time to research all the academic preschool programs that could work for your situation. Thinking that “any preschool is better than no preschool at all” may not be accurate under some circumstances.
If you’re struggling with finding the right preschool for your family, you’re definitely not alone! It takes time and effort to locate a program that will help your child thrive. But it’s important not to be discouraged. With these tips in mind, you’ll be in a much better position to find a preschool that fits your child’s needs perfectly.