How to Choose a Preschool

Montessori schools follow the child so each individual can reach their potential at their pace. The teachers act as guides to keep them growing academically, socially, emotionally and developmentally. It may prepare them for their future by teaching them the foundation of their education. Done well, a preschool should foster a love for learning and provide guidance on how to do well in school. How can you choose the best preschool?

What Is Preschool?

Before you can learn how to choose a preschool, consider what preschool is. Preschool, which may be called pre-k or nursery school, is an educational-focused program designed to teach children who are not yet old enough for kindergarten. Programs range in how they do this.

Most often, preschool is not mandatory, which is why many programs are private organizations. Families typically find and invest in preschool for their children outside of the public school systems. Some states and cities offer pre-k education, but not all do.

Why Is Preschool Important?

Preschool is a valuable investment in your child’s learning. It is an opportunity for them to learn about learning! That includes things as far-reaching as how to work with other children to the basics of language development. Many preschools foster improved communication while also teaching children what they typically need to know before entering a kindergarten program.

Preschools may be important for:

  • Learning to follow directions
  • Preparing to be away from home for kindergarten
  • Building social and emotional skills
  • Creating opportunities to interact and play with others
  • Begin a foundation of learning, especially topics that interest them the most

More so, for parents, preschool starts the process of helping to define the education quality your child will have. You can choose the format that appeals to you the most or meets your child’s individual needs. What they learn here could carry on for years to come.

Age Requirements

Each preschool establishes its own age limits and requirements. Most of the time, preschool begins at either age 3 or 4, but some programs may be available for children as young as two. Some centers require students to be potty trained in order to be a part of the program. At the age of 2 or 3, children are able to learn how to overcome separation anxiety and become more socially inclined. However, the individual needs of the student should be considered. Ultimately, it is never too late to enroll a child in preschool if they are not yet ready for kindergarten.

Average Price Guide

How much does preschool cost? There are various factors that determine this, and every school sets its own price schedule. Often, costs range from $1,000 to $2,500 per month for private preschools. Lower costing options may exist as well, including programs that are run by parents or volunteers.

It may also be beneficial for some students to consider programs like Head Start, a federally funded program that offers free early learning to children who are preschool aged who meet income requirements. This type of low income family support tool can be an option in some areas.

Types of Preschool

Several types of preschools exist. One of the most important decisions parents have to make is what type of preschool is best suited for their child. Some examples include:

Montessori programs

Montessori preschools are less formalized and more focused on providing students with the ability to pursue their interests. The child moves from one activity to another, using hands-on materials. Montessori programs are ideal for parents who want their children to enter a Montessori education for elementary school.

Waldorf

A Waldorf program focuses on developing a student’s intellectual, practice, and artistic skills. This is done through an integrated and holistic set of tasks. Students are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination to create skills. There is a lot of flexibility in terms of how students learn, with teachers incorporating a range of educational styles and methods.

Reggio Emilia

This type of educational method is student-centered. It fosters a self-guided curriculum that focuses heavily on experiential learning while also exposing children to relationship-driven environments. Students focus on some core principles, including respect, community, and responsibility. This is done through discovery activities, play, and exploration.

Play-based programs

These programs are based on play. Children learn through a range of learning opportunities that are structured to be fun and engaging. While they are playing, they are learning as they go. This type of educational platform is very much designed to keep kids learning core topics but with a play-based structure.

What Is Best for Your Child?

Parents should learn about the options in preschools in their area, recognizing that there are more options available than traditional daycare center-like programs. Parents should consider the type of educational philosophy used within the program to help them to make decisions right for their child.

It is not necessary for preschools to be accredited, though some programs are. What is most important is looking at how students are taught, including the range of opportunities they have, the environment, and how the teachers incorporate the educational philosophy.

Parents may wish to learn the type and level of education the teachers have in the educational philosophy selected. They should also ensure teachers are positive and caring while also being interactive and engaging with children. At the same time, positive discipline should be a component of this educational plan.

Why Choose Montessori?

A Montessori preschool provides the opportunity for students to learn based on what they are most interested in learning. It typically provides an education that is fitting to the child’s development stage rather than just their age. It also encourages cooperative play and is always child-centered, meaning the children are able to move from one task, topic, or area to another based on what interests them. Even through this method, students learn the basics of education, including letters, numbers, and other foundation skills. 

The best way to learn if a school is right for your child is to visit one. Contact Geneva Montessori School to learn more about your educational options.