How to Choose the Best Kindergarten for Your Child

It’s undeniable that choosing a kindergarten program is one of the most daunting tasks for first-time parents. Not only are private day-care and kindergarten options springing up like wild mushrooms, but you have probably never entrusted your child’s welfare to a stranger before. Though it may be fine to leave them in the care of your close network of family and friends, you may not feel as comfortable to leave them with strangers, even if these people are qualified and trained professionals.  

And it’s quite normal for parents to want to place their child in the “best” school.  In an effort to ensure the welfare of their children, parents have to be particularly careful when searching for one and must consider many things.

Accredited Learning Centres

Because choosing a kindergarten for your child can be a challenging process, websites that audit and provide information about kindergartens and early learning centres have been made available to the public.

If you live in Australia, you are in luck. The Australian Government has set up the website mychild.gov.au so residents can check whether the kindergartens are accredited and have a good record. For information about kindergartens in your area, search your postcode. The website will not only generate a list of all local preschools and kindergartens but will also provide details on the quality of services. You can also use this website to find out whether the organisation meets Australian national standards.

Tips for Choosing a Kindergarten Program

1. Decide with Your Child in Mind

You know your child better than anyone and know everything about his unique personality quirks, such as caring a lot about personal hygiene and avoiding mud at all costs for example. Keep these in mind when you start the search for the best school.

i. Your child’s needs and learning style

What to consider:

  • If your child has special educational needs
  • The type of environment your child needs – Does he/she thrive in a more structured environment or a less structured one?
  • If your child needs individual attention or needs to work in a group.
  • If he or she likes challenging work.
  • Does he learn best by observing, listening, reading or participating?

ii. Your philosophy of education

What to consider:

  • The things you want for your child.
  • If you want them to get hands-on and experience things on their own.
  • If you favour a rigorous or flexible way of teaching.

iii. Location of school

What to consider:

  • If your child gets motion sickness and if he or she will be able to travel a long distance for school.
  • If you’ll have them go to school on the school bus or if you would drive them to school.

2. Find out as Much as You Can About the School

i. The curriculum

What to consider:

  • If the program covers social and emotional spheres.
  • If it involves group work.
  • If the curriculum involves teachers helping children communicate and solve problems

ii. The teachers

What to consider:

  • If the teachers think creatively. If they do, they are more likely to encourage students to do the same.
  • If the school provides teachers with additional professional training.

iii. Talk to current parents

What to consider:

  • The reason they chose that school.
  • How parents are allowed to get involved.
  • What they like and don’t like about that specific kindergarten.
  • Are they encouraged to volunteer?
  • If the school has an active parent-teacher organization.
  • If the school communicates frequently with parents.
  • If they schedule meetings and events at times parents can attend.

3. Above all, visit!

When looking for kindergartens, it is essential for you to visit first. You can either choose to attend an open house in the spring or schedule a tour. For you to have a realistic overview of how the kindergarten operates, tour during regular hours.

Here’s what you will be considering:

i. The school community

What you are looking for:

  • If the school feels welcoming.
  • If the environment suits your child’s personality.
  • If there are policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of teachers and students.

ii. The setting

What you are looking for:

  • The setting should be vibrant.
  • Children’s artwork on the walls demonstrates an overall feeling of creativity and action.

iii. Culture

What you are looking for:

  • Friendly and helpful staff in general.
  • Staff who also warm and attentive when they interact with the children.
  • For a neat and orderly school, both inside classrooms and in the yard.

iv. Students

What you are looking for:

  • The good attendance rate for students.
  • Courteous, polite and disciplined children. Their demeanour should also be happy and engaged.
  • Children who interact easily with the teachers and principal.

When your child is in an environment that promotes education in a fun setting, there are higher chances of your child enjoying the learning process. The perfect kindergarten should be able to make that happen. And once a child enjoys learning, everything else becomes easy.

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