As it is becoming more and more common for both parents to work, preschool attendance has skyrocketed over the past decade. Many daycares have created a preschool within their facility in order to provide this service and keep clients. However, not all preschools are created equally. The following list contains the top six warning signs parents should look for when considering a preschool for their child.
1. Lack of Licensing
Any day care or preschool worth considering should have the proper license for their organization. Individuals or organizations offering preschool should have a current child care license. According to Marc Anidjar, attorney and co-founder of Anidjar and Levine, “A child care license means that the program has been inspected to meet minimum health and safety standards. In addition, most states include stipulations regarding employee background checks, ongoing employee training, and children to staff ratios.”
Granted, any place that contains a multitude of children will be a bit cluttered and chaotic. However, that is no excuse for the business itself to be disorganized. Paperwork should be clear and concise, billing should be accurate and regular, and communication should be consistent and informative. If the business aspect of the preschool cannot run smoothly, chances are that jumbled mess will transfer into the classroom.
3. No Set Schedule
Studies show that children do best in familiar situations, and in preschool, consistency is key. Although unforeseen circumstances and special occasions are inevitable, for the most part a child’s day in preschool should be consistent. Most preschools will provide a class schedule of what an average day will look like. If one is not provided, don’t be afraid to ask for one. If a schedule is unavailable or deemed unnecessary, you may want to continue looking at other preschool options.
4. No Set Curriculum
Just because students are young doesn’t excuse a lack of intentionality in their education. Preschools should be able to provide the curriculum or materials used to educate their students. This curriculum should encourage student’s progression in social skills, following directions, reading, and math. Don’t be afraid to compare curriculum between schools to see what will best suit your child. Some children need a program focused more on social skills and following directions, while others need a program focused more on academics. Ideally, a preschool program will have a healthy balance of these four areas.
5. Lack of Cleanliness
Let’s face it- it’s pretty hard to keep anything clean for long with a classroom full of children. However, there is a difference between the havoc created in an average day, and a lack of overall concern for cleanliness on a daily or weekly basis. When checking out a daycare for the first time, or even in the first few months, don’t be afraid to snoop around a little. What does their kitchen look like? How clean are their bathrooms? What about the floors in the classroom? How often are their desks and toys sanitized? These are all important in the overall cleanliness of the facility and health of the students and staff.
6. Unqualified Staff
Since much of academics surrounding preschool are left to the individual programs, it is important to ask about the qualifications of the individuals in direct contact with your child. Just because someone is a preschool teacher doesn’t mean that they have any education or experience. It’s important to ask about all employees working with your child, since a common practice in larger facilities is to hire one qualified individual who oversees others who are not as qualified. Even if the qualified individual spends one hour in your child’s class, the preschool will be able to say that they are taught by a qualified preschool teacher.
7. High Turnover Rate
A high turnover rate of staff or students is a major indicator of inconsistency and a negative environment- both of which are undesirable in a preschool. Don’t be afraid to ask how long staff have been at the organization, and talk to other parents in regards to the program’s reputation and history. Unhappy staff equals unhappy students, leading to an unproductive environment for learning.
Feature Image: nieer.org