The summer my daughter turned three, the main topic of conversation among my friends was “Where is your child going to go to preschool?’ Suddenly there were debates about structured vs unstructured; Montessori, Academic, half day, full day….. I will admit that I was totally clueless. I had no idea what all of those terms meant. So, I decided I’d better do some research (which consisted of asking my friends and neighbors which schools their children would be attending). When I finally had my list and began calling the schools, I found out that the classes were full. (None of my friends mentioned that registration had begun months ago.) I did find a great preschool with a program that met my daughter’s needs, but given my lack of knowledge things could have turned out very differently.
To help parents and caregivers choose the right preschool for their child, the Library is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Preschool Fair. The Fair will be held on Tuesday, October 23 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the 95th Street Library. Representatives from over 30 area preschools and daycare centers will be attending. It is important for parents and caregivers to know how to evaluate potential preschools. Here are a few questions to ask about a school you are considering:
- Ask about license and accreditation
- What is the child to teacher ratio? Ideally, there should be one teacher for every 7-10 students.
- Does the preschool teaching philosophy align with my parenting style?
- How many children are there per classroom? The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests that 20 children per classroom is an ideal number.
- What is the education and experience of the teaching staff?
- Ask about curriculum. There should be a variety of activities appropriate for the children’s ages and needs.
- What are the costs and fees?
- Are there extended childcare hours, and if so, what is the cost?
- How much parent involvement is expected?
- What safety measures does the school have in place?
- Visit the school. See how the children and staff interact. What is a typical daily routine? Check the cleanliness and safety of the center.
We look forward to welcoming you at the Library’s 3rd Annual Preschool Fair on Tuesday, October 23 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the 95th Street Library.
-Karen B., 95th St. Library