Choosing a pre-school can be quite stressful these days! Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Amelia; play-based, academic-based. And then the tuition! You may find the "perfect school", only to realize that it is out of your price range. So, when you go to visit a school, what exactly should you look for?
In Your Child's Growing Mind, educational psychologist Jane M. Healy says, "Research shows that the most positive outcomes for intelligence and behavior are related to small group size, a close, affectionate relationship with the caregiver, language stimulation, and the level of education of the caregiver.
She gives the following advice when choosing a caregiver:
-The caregiver should let the children take the lead in play - her role is to show and guide the children rather than direct or boss them.
-The caregiver should provide varied sensory stimulation and many opportunities for free play as well as planned and meaningful experience and for active movement like climbing and exploration.
-The caregiver should also have good grammar, vocabulary, and voice quality.
Some important things to look for at a pre-school are a sand and water table, a book corner, a pet to care for, and an art corner. Toys should be open-ended and should include blocks, puzzles, stitchery, dolls, and puppets.
I find this advice very helpful. I have not yet chosen a pre-school for my youngest son, but when I do choose a school, I'll know what to look for, and if I believe that it has shortcomings, at least I will know how to compensate at home.