10 Most Important Questions to Ask About Preschool Education
Ask yourself the following questions when you are thinking to teach your child at home or seeking the ideal standard in a preschool when you are visiting potential preschools for your child. Answers to these questions will skyrocket your chance of finding ideal preschool or home education set up.
1. How much time is devoted to play?
The youngest children need at least 2 or 3 hours a day to play, preferably in a preschool environment or a well-developed home program. Play can be unstructured time or time that is guided by the teacher or parent who creates themes and helps children tell stories as they play. The time allotted during the course of a preschool day will depending on the length of the program. For an all-day program, 2 or 3 hours of play would be a minimum.
2. Are parents occasionally allowed to observe how their child is doing?
Preschool classrooms should have nothing to hide. Parents can participate in class and allowing parents in the classroom leads to open and honest communication between the parents and the teachers, which is critical for a successful preschool experience.
The best preschools allow offer opportunities for parents and teachers to get together without children present in order to discuss development and any other issues that may be arising in the classroom. This meeting should occur about every term or quarter.
Teachers should also give parents clear instructions on the best ways to communicate with teachers and the school. When they enter a classroom, parents need to respect the teacher’s priority, which is teaching and helping children.
3. What is a typical schedule for the day?
We believe that even in preschool or a home program, teachers or parent need an organized curriculum with focused themes that change throughout the year. What’s more, children need to be presented every day with an overriding plan for that day. A typical preschool day has the following components:
[Social Time], which allows for children to develop a sense of community with their classmates. They typically sit in a group and learn about the weather for the day and what some children did that week. They share ideas with each other. They talk about particular subjects that help develop moral character and kindness in others. They talk about world events when needed through daily storybook reading and discussion about ideas. They learn about the class schedule for the day and who may be visiting. Socialization offers an opportunity for the children to come together to discuss whatever is on their mind or a specific lesson that teacher has prepared.
This can also be done at home. If you have neighbor or friends who have similar aged children, then that would be great to have them socialize together and even does home education together one day a week or more.
[Spatial Time], There should be different spaces in the classroom and activities that occur in those areas. Preschoolers love to move around centers that focus on creative materials. Some centers may include a “science” area with, for example, various bottles of different colored water, a selection of rocks and crystals, or a collection of shells and sea animals. Blocks or hands on materials are very popular center with children. They also love to have cars and trucks, front loaders, and train tracks. Other centers that are appropriate for preschoolers include a house corner or a dress-up corner with lots of hats and clothes that fit their size. They love to dress up and play different roles or create birthday parties or set a table for lunch. This area encourages dramatic play.
[Free time], This time is allowing children an opportunity to explore the classroom, finish a project, or be with their friends.
Children should be able to choose if they want to return to centers, sit quietly near the book corner, or go outside (if there is enough staffing to monitor children both indoors and outdoors at the same time).
4. Does the program incorporate music and art?
During Pre-schooling, it should include music and creative arts. Music allows a child to practice rhythm, sounds, and phonology. They learn to communicate with music, dance, and song. Creative arts are essential because preschoolers learn to write or draw their ideas, which improves literacy skills as well as narrative skills. Some schools hire music and art therapists who visit the classroom each week. These consultants can support the teacher and help many children through these creative experiences.
5. Do the children have outside time every day in safe environment?
The outdoors offer extraordinary opportunities for imaginative play, a chance to communicate with peers, and an increased sense of awareness when they become a part of the natural environment. Children also need to run around and release some of the energy they have built up in the classroom. When they are done this, they will be ready for inside classroom time.
6. How much time is allotted for dramatic play?
A good program has to include time for children to engage in make-believe, at least during Social Time each day. Dramatic play should not be limited to girls dress-up or make-believe. Children want to explore all sorts of adult roles. For example, they can create a storefront, and the teachers or parents can focus on math, with lesson on how much they should charge for things, decision making (which purchases to make, which to pass by), and more.
7. What type of sensory experiences does the classroom provide?
Preschoolers should have plenty of sensory-type activities, such as a water table, access to sand or clay and hands on manipulative. Many children need to bounce on a small trampoline or swing to relieve stress. Some may want small objects to fidget with during times when they feel the need.
Occupational therapists can design preschool activities in any school that incorporates these sensory experiences, so ask if the preschool you are investigating has a relationship with this kind of therapist.
If you are educating at home, you are much more flexible and can provide all sorts of sensory experiences with household items.
8. Do you have a parent group or meetings to attend for information about raising a preschool child?
Parent group or meetings can help parents learn from each other and develop a sense of school community. Parents need access to ideas and options when they are raising a typical preschooler, and they need support from other parents who are facing the same challenges.
9. What is the ratio between children and teachers in each classroom?
The lower the teacher-child ratio, the more time an adult will have to give children individual attention when they need help discussing or chatting with classmates.
They will also have more time to solve classroom problems and develop curriculum materials, and teachers will have more time to talk to parents.
For preschoolers, the requirement is one teacher for every fifteen children (thirty-tree months to kindergarten, or age five years). We believe that preschoolers need two teachers in the classroom with fifteen children. All states have similar standards through departments of early education so please refer to local authorities.
10. How do your teachers accommodate different learning styles?
Some children may need a more structured classroom, while others may need more free play and less structure. If your child is shy and sensitive, he may need one-on-one encouragement to engage with peers. You will want to know if the preschool can accommodate this need.
We hope above 10 questions help you determine which preschool or home educational program suits your child and please remember….The best preschool situation, whether at home or in a formal environment, offers dramatic & sensory play because play and socialization are some of the most important paths to learning.
(Reference: Your Successful Preschooler – Ann Densmore and Margaret Bauman, 2011)