When you need to find a preschool, it’s important to remember what matters most — your child and your family. When it came time for us to find a preschool, it was more of a journey than I expected.
This post is sponsored by KinderCare. All of the experiences and opinions are my own.
If you’re starting the journey to find the best preschool for your child, I hope our experience can help you figure out exactly what will work best for your family.
Find a Preschool for Your Family
The time came far too quickly for my liking. I’m not sure how my precious, little boy was ready to head off to the big, wide world of preschool. As a former teacher, I knew that I wanted my kids to go to some sort of preschool program for a few reasons. I wanted them to get the social experience and to learn some basic academic skills so they’d be more prepared for kindergarten.
What I didn’t realize is that sometimes it takes more than just a checklist to find a preschool that works the best for your child. I really thought I would be able to go down a list and if the school marked enough boxes, I’d know I’d found the right one.
It took a little more heart and intuition for us to find the right preschool.
KinderCare has a great list of simple steps to help you find the best child care for your family and it’s a great place to start!
Questions to Ask Preschool
I went in with a printed list of “questions to ask preschool” that would help me know we had found the right one for Weston. I thought having a checklist would make it easy to sort through a few of the schools we were interested in.
The list definitely helped but what it really came down to was knowing our needs. But I also had to remember my little boy’s personality and his specific needs.
One of my biggest pieces of advice for my friends who are starting their preschool hunt is to know what they need.
To find a good preschool a parent should look for… It’s such a personal decision. So it’s important to consider some of the basics and how they relate to your family. There are a few areas that we sat down and thought about before we even looked at schools.
Know Your Needs
We figured out what hours we needed because, at the time, I needed longer care for Weston than some of the preschools near me offered. Location is also an important thing to think about, especially if parents might be at different locations during the day.
Whether we want to think about it or not, budget is often a factor when it comes finding a preschool. That’s perfectly okay. There are amazing schools in our area that fall into a wide range of budgets. But being honest with what we wanted to spend was important so that we didn’t consider something we weren’t willing to pay for.
Then you might consider what kind of experience and education you are interested in for your child. There are many different kinds of schools out there and not all of them are the right fit for all kids. This is one area that I didn’t fully consider when searching for a school for Weston.
I think starting the journey is really about being honest with yourself and your family.
Time is essential when it comes to figuring out how to choose preschool. I encourage parents to start thinking about it early on. I wasn’t sure when I was going to send Weston to school so I wasn’t really prepared when we ended up in a situation where I needed a preschool for him to go to while I was at work.
Since I was teaching in the community, I had some general knowledge about some of the most popular preschools in our area, but I think it’s important to start learning about all of the options early on. The more information parents have, the better choice they can make!
Some of the things we learned about and discussed were the current standards and accreditation for local schools, teacher to student ratios, and current education trends that we were interested in.
This is where I got caught up on a certain educational approach that I thought would work well for Weston. I thought I knew what kind of education I wanted for him without taking enough time to actually think about where he might fit best. This is why visiting the schools you’re interested in is also important!
Don’t be afraid to check out reviews and listen to those word of mouth recommendations, especially if you have friends who have children that might be similar to your own.
What to Look for in a Preschool
Experiencing the preschool you’re considering is essential. Make the time to take a tour and take it with your child!
See how the school makes you feel. Do you feel welcome? Does your child seem interested in what’s going on around them? Do the other children seem happy? There’s a lot to be said for the vibe you get when you tour a preschool.
This is the time to focus on the things you’d like your child to experience in preschool. Do you see those things happen? Some things to consider are academics and learning, play, choice of activities, outdoor time, etc.
Also, be sure to discuss things like potty training and picky eaters if they apply to your family. We struggle with a picky eater and I made the mistake of not addressing this issue as thoroughly as I should have with one preschool he was enrolled in. We needed flexibility and that particular school didn’t really offer it.
To be honest, we had trouble with two schools we tried. The first one I didn’t take Weston to tour. I liked the school and their educational approach. In the end, it turned out that it wasn’t the best approach for him! It just wasn’t a match and I might have learned that if I had taken him in when I visited!
That leads me to my last piece of advice and the one I think is one of the most important!
Trust Your Gut
I always believe that parents need to trust their gut. Those feelings mean something. We’re the ones that know our children the best. So trust your gut during the process so you find a preschool that is a match.
Trust the vibes you get when you’re at the school. Trust how your child acts or reacts when they visit. And don’t forget to think about whether the potential preschool shares your values and meets your family’s needs.
If you’ve chosen a school and it ends up not being the best fit, don’t be afraid to look for alternatives. We finally found our preschool on the third try. Third time’s a charm, right? Now both kids have gone to the school and I will be sad when Carrigan finally graduates and heads off to kindergarten!
If you’re just getting ready to start preschool, we’ve got some easy ways to make starting preschool easier!
I was a KinderCare kid growing up and I love that they have some great tips to help you find a preschool that your family loves for years to come! Check it out and learn more about KinderCare on their website!