Entrusting an institution to care for your children and help them develop is a big step for any parent. There are plenty of childcare institutions out there, so it seems a bit difficult to choose one. How can you distinguish between a good, quality preschool and one that’s not? Well, you need to be aware of specific preferable characteristics that a quality preschool possesses. Choosing a quality preschool is essential as it is the bedrock of your children’s education. Keep reading to learn more about what to look for in a preschool.
Here are the the characteristics roughly and a more detailed explanation follows. First of all, the environment of a quality preschool should be safe, comforting, and nurturing. The staff should be well-educated, caring, and attentive. When it comes to learning, it should be age-appropriate and planned. The teachers should have excellent communication with parents. The facilities should be child-friendly, and the safety standards should be high. There should also be a focus on health and nutrition, and the activities children engage in should be enriching and diverse.
1. A safe and nurturing environment
Enrolling in preschool is a big step for preschoolers as well as their parents. For the first time in their lives, children learn to listen to other authority figures besides their parents, to socialize with other children, and basically to be independent. They are getting to know themselves, their likes and dislikes. So, you understand that there is, in fact, a lot going on in a preschooler’s life. That’s why the curriculum should provide a safe and nurturing environment where preschoolers will thrive. Such an environment gives preschoolers a chance to figure things out on their own without the fear of judgment.
2. Attentive and caring staff
The following key characteristic and element of every preschool is the staff. The staff should have proper education and training, they should be qualified to work with kids. Besides having a formal education, they should also possess certain personal characteristics. Good educators are also attentive and very caring when it comes to young children. Children in this age are very sensitive, so educators should know how to approach them in different situations. They should also be very patient, persistent, and kind to kids. It is vital to devote time to each child individually for optimal growth and progress. Preschool is the starting point in education that shapes kids.
3. Age-appropriate planned learning
Attending a quality childcare centre implies age-appropriate planned learning. Such learning is critical as it fosters development. Additionally, to keep children engaged, learning needs to be fun as well. Children should always feel as if they were playing and not learning directly. Learning per se at such a young age can feel exhausting and repellent. The best strategy to make kids love learning and school later on, is to start the learning process slowly and correctly. And preschool is the right place to start.
4. Good parent-teacher communication
Communication between parents and teachers is also essential. It should be open and regular. It is crucial as learning doesn’t start and end in preschool. Quality preschools understand how vital this communication is for children’s progress. They also value the link between home and school. Nowadays, it is much easier to keep communication flowing with different apps and platforms. Preschools often have Viber or WhatsApp groups with parents. They post announcements here, share photos and videos of children, and so on. They also tend to send weekly or monthly reports in emails. We should use all the advantages the modern age brings us.
5. Child-friendly facilities
When choosing a preschool for your needs, you should also pay special attention to facilities. They should be child-friendly. Such facilities are appropriate for kids of young age, and as such, they are also safe. The facilities should constantly be evolving and updated from time to time. The classrooms should be modern but with a balanced focus on learning via technology and different gadgets. Traditional forms of learning and developing graphomotor skills should also be present. So, the preschool should be well-equipped with all kinds of educational and free play toys, books, colouring books, and other materials.
6. High safety standards
As far as safety standards are concerned, they should be on a high level. A preschool needs to fulfill all kinds of safety standards before getting a license for work. However, it is still something you should pay attention to. Every aspect of the preschool premises should be safe for kids. Remember that falling and getting their knee scratched is a normal thing – it is a part of growing up. Nevertheless, there shouldn’t be any room for serious injuries and hazards. Many preschools also have CCTV cameras installed as another means of protection and prevention.
7. Focus on health and nutrition
Besides being mindful of the environment, the staff, and the curriculum, you should also pay attention to nutrition. Children spend a significant portion of the day at preschool. For optimal development and growth, they should eat nutrient-dense food. The food should be balanced, consisting of different kinds of meat and fish, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds. You can ask for a menu and see how it’s composed. The food should also be prepared healthily.
8. Enriching and diverse activities for kids
When it comes to activities children engage in, they should be both enriching and diverse. You can see them listed in the curriculum. The important thing is that they are diverse, covering many aspects such as language learning, math, animals and plants, manners, socializing, and so on. They should also be done in numerous ways. There should be both practical and theoretical learning. Children should be drawing, colouring, gluing and making things with their own hands. Moreover, they should all have a clear goal and be meaningful for children’s development.