Choosing a preschool for your child is a big decision. Overall, you want your kids to be safe and have fun, but there are a few other factors you can check on when you tour the school to help you make your decision.
The first thing to look for is engagement by the adults. Are the teachers involved in what’s happening in the room in some way or are they standing in the corner looking at their phones? Teacher engagement doesn’t mean that the adults have to be in the middle of the dress-up center wearing a funny hat, but they should be actively monitoring what’s going on in all areas of the room. Just like you can’t leave your own preschooler alone for long, someone should always have eyes on a busy Nocatee preschool classroom at all times.
Do the children look clean and well cared for? Children will get dirty, and they don’t need to be in designer clothes for a quality preschool program to occur, but do keep an eye out for runny noses and dirty hands. Again, kids will get messy, but they shouldn’t stay messy. Runny noses should get wiped and dirty hands should get washed in a timely manner. Also, ask about the disinfectant routine of the school. Most preschools have a protocol that they follow to wipe everything down thoroughly after hours.
There is no reason 3- and 4-year-olds should be sitting at desks doing worksheets or on computers. That kind of learning comes soon enough. What children at this age need is creative free play. All around the room you should see centers that are hubs of active play. You may see a dress-up box, blocks, playdough, books, and art supplies. If kids are playing safely, no one should be directing them to color in the lines or use a toy a certain way.
While children play together in an unstructured way, they learn the skills of sharing, negotiation, and cooperation to name a few. When choosing a preschool, look for one that lets kids do what they do best — play.