Picking a preschool for your child can be taxing, let me help you make an informed decision.
From the moment your child is born, you want what is best for him/her. You want them to play, learn, and grow. While that last one can be kind of scary it is a part of life. When your child gets to be a certain age, you have to start thinking about their formal education beginning with preschool. In our world today, there are so many aspects you need to think of when it comes to enrolling your child in a preschool. You may be asking yourself a lot of questions about what kind of set up would be best for your child. Is a play-based education what my child needs? Do I want the focus to be Christian-based? Does my child need accelerated learning preschool? All of these are good questions to ask and it can be hard to decide what to focus on especially when you are probably thinking, “My child needs all of these!” So what’s the difference and how do you choose what is best for you?
According to The Conversation, “Play-based learning can set your child up for success at school and beyond.” Play-based learning is taking a child’s natural instinct to play and using it as a learning tool. In play-based learning, there is room for the child to initiate their own learning as well as for the teacher to encourage learning as well. An example The Conversation used is playing with blocks. If a student is playing with blocks, a teacher can ask a question to “encourage problem-solving, prediction and hypothesizing.” The teacher can also point out how the child is using other skills while playing with blocks such as science. A big benefit of play-based learning is it encourages kids to take charge and be leaders. This type of learning can help a child in the future in terms of social skills as well as problem-solving skills. Socially, the child will know how to work with others better because they have done it their entire life. They will also be able to handle conflict better than those who have not experienced playing with others which will make them better leaders and problem-solvers in the future. Learn more here: Play-based Learning
If play-based learning doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you may want to look into Christian-based learning. Christian-based learning is putting your child in a preschool where your religious views would be the center of your child’s education. According to St. Gregory’s University, a faith-based education supports students in two different ways. It can help them grow in their own personal faith and it can help them mature “in their faith as future educators.” In other words, a faith-based or Christian-based education will help your child grow as a Christian and help them become leaders in the Christian faith in the future. With a faith-based education, your child is put on a path to lead a life of “balance, generosity and integrity,” which are all great virtues to have. A Christian-based education is wonderful for your child in terms of building a strong character. Learn more here: Christian-based Learning
Accelerated Learning Program
A third preschool option is an accelerated learning program. According to Ron White, a speaker at Memorise, a child’s memory starts to hold on to more between the ages of 3 and 5. This is right when you are probably going to be putting your child into preschool. With accelerated learning, students are practicing for what their most important job is going to be: school. According to Accelerated Learning, other benefits include your child being put into a “learner’s mindset.” By being in this mindset, your child will find ways to improve what they are working on. For example, if your child is trying to make a really tall structure with blocks, they will keep trying to make it taller by adding more of a base because they observe how a building is wide and tall. Learn more here: Accelerated Learning Program
Your child also learns “applicable knowledge in a short period of time” and he/she can use this knowledge to make testing easier later in life because “they have internalized and can apply the learning.” With an accelerated learning project, students also learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills because they are presented with a variety of “problems” by teachers who expect them to solve it. Learn more here: Accelerated Learning Benefits
Now that you know what each type of preschool is, how do you choose which one is the best for you? You may want to consider what your family focus is and where your child would feel the most comfortable and at ease. If your family has a strong Christian faith and you feel your child is getting an adequate education at home in that department you may want to look at play-based learning or an accelerated program. If your child is an only child and does not get a lot of interaction with children his/her own age, you may want to look at what will be best at helping those social skills develop like the play-based learning. You also have to look at availability. Not only what is available in your area, but what is available in your area that you can afford. It’s hard to put a price on your child’s education but many accelerated learning programs are private and therefore not covered under general education. Christian-based programs can also be private but some churches do have free or not costly programs at all. Finally, you have to think about what you want for your child. Of course, we want our children to be well-rounded, smart, independent people; so if we could send them to the perfect preschool that encompassed all of the above we would, but I have a feeling that place doesn’t exist (yet). Look back at what each form offers and be honest with yourself. Before you make any decision, make sure you visit each of the locations to be sure this is the best fit for your family.
After all my research and several site visits, I had to transfer my daughter, Nyla Denae’™ to another preschool after only 3 weeks because the direction of the program was not aligned with my values and expectations. I found myself switching preschools because of the lack of supervision and high expectations of the students. I truly believe that as an educator and a parent that we owe our children the best opportunity to receive the best-tailored education for them. The most important thing to remember is to consider your child’s personality and your family focus and values. Your child will excel wherever they feel safe, nurtured and has developed a relationship with the caregivers so please take your time in selecting the best environment for your child. Don’t feel guilty if you have to change locations to better suit your child’s need because you are the expert on what is best for your child.