tips for transitioning into child care

Four Things To Consider When Looking At Preschools

Choosing a quality preschool is important to your child's future education. If they aren't challenged, they can grow bored and develop a negative attitude toward institutional learning right from the start. Preschool isn't babysitting; it is a formalized program to prepare your child for kindergarten and the skills he'll need to succeed there. Here are four areas to consider to help determine which preschool is right for you.


Before you get too excited about any one facility, you'll need to know their enrollment capacity. Many good schools have waiting lists that far succeed their limited capacity. This is one of the primary reasons the search for a preschool should begin a good year before it will actually be needed.


Ask specific questions about the qualifications of the staff. You want your children being taught by professionals who have a background in childhood development. Many states don't require any formalized education of preschool staff.

You don't want to entrust your child's well-being to just anyone. Ask what kind of background checks are performed on employees. At a minimum, criminal checks should be performed on every employee in the facility, not just the teachers. Make sure providers are also CPR certified.


Make sure the school's operating hours work with your schedule. Some facilities follow public school schedules. Be sure to have alternative day care plans available to you if the school day ends before your work day or if they are closed for two weeks over the winter holiday season.

You'll also want a general overview of your child's school day schedule. It's important to see how they will be spending their day. Look for diverse learning activities as well as time for free play. Avoid preschool programs whose afternoons are spent napping until time for pickup. That's not what you're paying for.


Spend considerable time exploring the school's philosophy. Some schools are very education-driven; others are more relaxed, using free play and exploration as their primary learning method. One is not necessarily better than the other, but you know your child's needs best.

If your child shows definite signs of readiness, a school that is more geared to learning basic skills, such as handwriting and pre-reading, may be the best program for them. On the other hand, some children just need this preschool period to adjust to socializing, following rules, adhering to a schedule, and adjusting to being away from Mom and Dad.You'll also want to know the school's policies on discipline.

If you're interested in learning more about preschool programs, visit a site like