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If you’re reaturning to work, or taking the traditional schooling route then choosing a preschool is one of the most important decisions you can make for your child’s future. Evidence suggests that this stage of childcare is integral to their overall learning and development, which is why many parents find the thought of picking the perfect preschool a stressful process.
Whilst Damian and I didn’t make use of pre-schools for our own children, we did take a look around some local schools and we found that there’s a huge checklist of features to look for when choosing a preschool and the endless list of things to remember did feel a little overwhelming. Fortunately, there’s nothing more accurate than your own intuition. We opted to try focusing on a few key points instead, and making sure that the preschool felt right to us, rather than simply basing our decision on a list of bullet-points.
I’ve outlined some key questions to ask yourself when researching preschools and nurseries to help you ensure you pick the one that’s perfectly suited to you:
Do They Push Your Child’s Development?
A good preschool will guide your children through the curriculum – but a great one will push them even further. Some preschools advance your child’s learning through a range of additional activities, such as art exhibitions and alternative creative development. The best nursery in Wandsworth, London, encourages interaction through immersive activities like a light and dark exhibition, encouraging children to advance their experiences and improve sensory development
from an early age. Their curriculum is built from the foundations of additional activities like this and each project is curated based on their children’s interests.
And Are These Activities Interesting To The Children?
Your child will retain information better if they are engaged with the activity on offer. During your visit to the preschool try and observe – do the children look excited and absorbed by the activity on offer? Is it something your child would enjoy? Also, try and note if the activity is accessible – something too difficult and if your child could be put off taking part if it’s not explained properly.
How Do The Teachers Interact With The Children?
Are the staff friendly? Do the teachers position themselves at eye-level to talk to the children, or do they tower above them? These interactions may seem small but it’s important that your child feels at ease and the teachers take the time to ensure they understand each activity, to give them the best growth and development.
Do They Build Your Child’s Confidence?
Education isn’t just the main awareness to focus on when choosing a preschool – you also need to look at how they develop your child’s confidence and self-awareness. The period of time in which your child is at nursery is one of the most vital stages for developing their personality, so it’s important that the preschool treats it as such. Some preschools focus their attention on this, like the top nursery in Finchley, London, which assigns mentors to each pupil. This mentor will encourage your child to develop a self-awareness of their classmates’ emotions and how their actions impact on this, as well as build their own confidence by asking them questions that encourage them to reflect.
Which Meals Are Available?
Nutrition now forms a huge focus for schools and your chosen preschool should reflect this. Are there plenty of healthy and balanced meals and snacks available to your child at the school? Will pupils be taught about healthy diets and how to choose healthy food types themselves? The school should be able to talk about their commitment to nutrition and how they plan to pass this learning on to pupils confidently.
Do They Involve Parents?
No-one knows your child better than yourself, so why should a preschool not take every advantage to learn from and utilise parents’ input? Excellent communication between parents and teachers is an important part of what makes a school great. You should look at the schemes and opportunities there are for parents to get involved, and whether their knowledge is used to better the pupils’ learning environment.
And Most Of All….Does It Feel Right?
You can get a strong feeling about whether the preschool will be a good fit for you and your family simply by experiencing it firsthand. Make sure to take advantage of open days, or request a private viewing of the school and classes in action. Nurseries in Wandsworth offer trial days, and session, where you can leave your child to experience the preschool and see if they enjoy it.