Choosing a Preschool

Preschool is a big step for a child. Make sure the one you’re sending your little one to is right for him.

Sending your child off to nursery or preschool is a big step for both children and parents. After all, it’s usually children’s first taste of true independence and possibly the first time they’ll have been separated from parents or caregivers on a regular basis.

Naturally you’ll want to choose the best nursery or preschool possible for your child. But what should you look for? According to preschool consultant Dr. Jennifer Hardacre, “the most important thing to consider is the teacher, in that all preschool teachers should be well qualified and show an interest in your child’s particular needs. They should also have a degree in early childhood education or it’s equivalent.”

Something else to look for is the way the nursery school program is presented. Dr. Hardacre feels that young children need an atmosphere that “is relaxed and low-key, and that has plenty of time for individual children to pursue their own interests. So for instance you might see in the morning for as much as an hour, many different activities for children to engage themselves in. That’s where you see the sand play available, and the water play and the dramatic play and the big blocks and puzzles, and art materials. There should be plenty of time for individual activities to go on.”

Of course songs and games are a major component of the preschool experience. However Dr. Hardacre adds that it’s best if “group activities are brief and pleasant and not dominated by requirements to sit up and sit still.”

Overall, nursery school should be far less structured than what your child will experience when they reach grade one and their formal education begins in earnest. Dr. Hardacre says you’ll know if a nursery school is right for your child by researching the school, asking good questions of the teachers and by listening to your intuition. “I think if the adult gets the feeling of being relaxed and comfortable, then the children likely feel relaxed and comfortable too.”

Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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