Deciding whether to send your little one off to preschool is a big step. Whether you are choosing Montessori, Waldorf, or any of the quality play based learning programs in Hamilton you'll want to consider whether your child is ready.
This list will help you decide if your child is ready and how to choose the right program for your family:
• Does it fit your family’s schedule? Many preschools don’t offer full-day child care. Preschool typically runs 2½ hours, either in the morning or afternoon, and follows the school calendar — meaning they’re closed during the traditional summer, Christmas and spring breaks. Some preschools may offer a choice of classes either two or three alternate days per week or the full five days per week. Consider how much school your child can handle.
• What does the tuition fee cover? Some schools charge extra for lunch programs, transportation, specialty classes and regular field trips.
• Is your child ready? Most programs start at age 2½, and many require that children are potty trained. Some parents enroll their four- and five-year-olds in preschool as an alternative to public junior or even senior kindergarten.
• What is the school’s learning approach? Make sure you agree with it.
• Are the teachers qualified? Preschools fall under provincial licensing regulations, which ensure only that facilities meet minimum standards. Make sure the teachers have Early Childhood Education (ECE) certification, as well as extra training for particular learning approaches (Waldorf, Montessori, etc.).
• What do you want your child to gain? Are your goals mainly social (you hope he’ll learn to share and take turns) or academic (you want him to learn specific reading, printing and math skills before kindergarten)? Or are you most concerned that your child gain independence (you want him to get accustomed to being at school and away from you)? Choose a program that will help you and your child achieve those goals.
• How long are the group learning sessions? Can you see your child sitting still for that long?
• How many children are in the classroom? Consider whether your child will be comfortable with the potential noise level.
• What are the opportunities for indoor and outdoor play? Make sure they meet your child’s need to burn off steam.
If you decide your little one isn't ready for preschool, don't worry there are other options to help them develop academic & social skills. A momstown.ca membership provides parent-led, teacher developed curriculum that is play based learning yet delivered in a structured format by qualified program leaders. Consider joining us at our programming by finding out more information here.
Portions of this blog were originally published by our partners at Today's Parent Magazine. You can find the full article here.