As a new mom, going through a process of choosing my daughter’s preschool wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. If you have read my previous article “Choosing The Right Preschool” there is a thought process I went through before deciding on which school suited best for my daughter, and this article is to elaborate point number 3 “See them for yourself”. So, after shortlisting our preferred schools and making appointments to visit them, I made a list. The list consisted of questions to ask and things I should observe during the visits.
What to Ask?
• Curriculum and Philosophy of Learning. Ask how they apply their philosophy into daily classroom activities?
• How many students in a classroom? And what is the teacher to student ratio?
• Parent – Teacher Communication. Ask what is the policy; open door communication, thru communication books, email? And how regular?
• Does the school have any extra curricular activities or enrichment programs?
• How do you support students who have social, emotional or academic difficulties?
• How do you ensure children’s safety? What is your policy on bullying?
• Do children have outdoor play time? (very important for my super active daughter, at least!)
What to Observe?
• Do the children seem happy? Do they engage in learning?
• Is the classroom clean and orderly? Do they check children’s body temperature and wipe their hands before entering the classroom?
• Are there appropriate and adequate materials for children to support their learning?
• Does the classroom look bright with natural lights and is it well ventilated?
• Do the teachers seem enthusiastic, knowledgeable and able to keep the students engaged?
• Does the principal seem interested in interacting with students, teachers and parents?
• How well are the facilities maintained
• Do they have a school nurse
• Do they have a school bus service (quite essential if you don’t drive and you don’t live nearby)
I found it most beneficial to arrange for the school visits during the school day; when students
and teachers are in the classroom. I brought along my daughter for the visits as well, so I can
see if she is interested and interacting with her teachers and peers. At the end of the day, my
daughter is the one who will be going to school every single day, so I let her “lead” me as to
which school she is most comfortable with. And she seems very happy with her choice.