For the new parent or parents the question of when to start their youngster(s) and which preschool to select can be a daunting task. With more questions and little answers there is no one-solution-fits-all model answer. Each parents’ issues are unique, so is the case with the child. Most parents’ start their research for a preschool 8-9 months before the child is enrolled. In urban areas both parents working is the norm and thus research will be more focused on location (distance from either of the parents’ work location; however this can depend upon each parent’s shift schedule etc.); next comes the quality of the preschool in terms of programs and facilities.
Today there are many preschool programs; Well-known among them are Montessori – the developmental approach by educationist Maria Montessori; Reggio Emilia – the Italian model of encouraging discovery and focus on teamwork as a group activity; Waldorf – creative hands-on learning based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner (Austrian author); High Scope system is learning by participation through practice and drill; Parent Co-ops – is a co-operative system where the parents are actively involved in the school experience of the children; Bank Street – learning through developmental activity based on John Dewy’s philosophy.
Whatever the system and apart from the other factors of budget, location and the amount of time that the parent can spare, it is important that the teacher to whom the child is entrusted be the right person. This is because after the parent, the teacher; will have the most influence on a child’s early years upbringing and development.
The second most important factor is the quality of facilities at the preschool; rest rooms and washing facilities, cleanliness of the environment, play equipment suitable for preschoolers and rest mats for school manufactured to code (CPSC compliant). Like other species children in the preschool age have to rest often and the childcare facility with proper nap mats for preschool children will win hands down. A well-rested child is a happy child.