Tips & Tricks

Tips for Choosing the Right Preschool for Your Child (and You)

JoAnna Schwartz


Jun 07, 21

Picking the right preschool for you and your child is a big decision. It’s not just about what’s closest. And the preschool you pick will probably not determine the trajectory of the rest of your child’s life. This is no doubt a time of anxiety for you and your child, but it should also be a time of joy and celebration.

To help you focus on enjoying these moments, we’ve come up with some handy tips that should relieve some of the stress of picking a preschool and make you feel more confident in your choice.

Learn About Preschools in Your State
Preschool is not considered an actual school in most states, so it doesn’t have the same licensing and regulations that a grade school would. That said, most preschools do take the education level up a notch from daycare to give your little one a nice transition from daycare to kindergarten.

If this is your first child, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how your state views a preschool and what you can expect from the experience. Having a good foundation and understanding goes a long way toward setting expectations for everyone.

Types of Preschools and Their Philosophies
There are many different types of preschools and they each have their own approaches. The three most common ones are:

  • Montessori. Maybe the best-known approach, the Montessori belief is that children are individual learners and teachers serve as guides. It’s heavily hands-on and toys have specific learning purposes that are guided by teachers. Cooperation and independence are fostered.
  • Waldorf. Waldorf schools use a dependable routine and rhythm to create a sense of predictability for children and for the parents. It’s more creative in nature and doesn’t stress the intellectual aspect as much as a Montessori school does.
  • Reggio Emilia. This approach focuses on child-led interests. The teachers observe the children and then guide them into areas that they’re naturally drawn to. Interests are documented and the progression is often followed. The approach here is very creative.

In addition to these three main preschool approaches, there are many others, and each has its own philosophy. It does pay to check out their model and style of teaching to see if it fits with your child’s personality. Happy Name Bubbles customer with his Preschool Labels.

Religious preschools are another very popular option. Many churches offer a preschool option to church members. This can be a delightful solution because your child will be around children they already know, in an environment where they’re comfortable, and you presumably trust your church and their beliefs. Expect part of the curriculum to include religious education, but feel free to ask about the rest of their teaching philosophy so you know what your child will be learning and more about their daily experiences.

Community preschools are also a great option for a lot of families. These schools are local, they often are filled with children and families that your little one already knows and might have reduced rates for families that need some assistance. The teaching philosophy varies, so asking questions about the curriculum and learning goals is important.

Practical Matters When Picking a Preschool
Knowing how a preschool is defined in your state and understanding different approaches to learning gives you a nice foundation but there are some very practical matters that go into your preschool decision.

  • Budget. Some preschools are incredibly affordable, and others are off-the-rails expensive. It varies wildly by where you live. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the most expensive schools are the best, this simply isn’t true. Don’t break the bank and deplete a college fund before it even gets started. Stick within your budget.
  • Location. Carting your child an hour one way for four hours of preschool is simply not practical. Where your child goes to school is an important consideration. Another strong check in favor of a nearby school, in addition to convenience, is it’s more comfortable and familiar for your little one.
  • Schedule. Morning preschool, afternoon school, maybe even an all-day program might fit your schedule. The preschool schedule needs to fit with the family’s schedule for it to really be successful. This can definitely play a big role in your decision.
  • Your Gut. Hey, you’ve honed those parental instincts at this point so don’t discount them. If you have a gut feeling about a preschool when you visit, listen to it. You know what’s best for your child but sometimes you can’t quite pinpoint the reasons you have these feelings. We trust you and you should too – always give value to your gut instincts.

The Teachers are Everything
For anyone who has had that one teacher who changed or shaped the course of their lives, you know that a great teacher is everything. Even as early as preschool, the skills of the teacher can define the experience. Meeting the teachers can be a huge part of your preschool determination. Even better, arrange for your child to meet them too. When meeting teachers, keep the following in mind:

    • Education/Training. Ask what certifications they have and what is required in their school. And feel free to check licenses if you wish.
Name Bubbles Preschool Labels.
  • History and Future Plans. It might not make a big difference to you or it could be very important. But feel free to ask how long they’ve been teaching and if they expect to continue.
  • Teaching Approach. You probably know the school’s stand on what approach they use, but it’s a good idea to ask the teacher to see if it lines up.
  • Child to Teacher Ratio. Find out how many children and teachers are in each classroom. The smaller the ratio, the more one-on-one time your child will get.
  • Discipline. Most schools have guidelines on what their discipline procedures are.
  • Educational Goals for Preschool. Learn what the teachers hope to foster in your child. Of course, at this age there aren’t guarantees but it’s good to know what they’re working toward.
  • Interaction Level. Does the teacher get on the floor and play with the child or just stand there and watch the children play together.
  • Child/Teacher Interaction. If you’re able to bring your child, watch how the teacher and your child interact.

Pull all of the information you’ve gathered together and try to figure out which school seems to best fit all of your criteria. You’ll be happy that you put a little effort into the process because when it comes time to hand your little one off, you’ll feel much better about it.

Thank you again for joining us for another edition of The Weekly Bubble! We hope this blog post was informative for you and your children. If you have any questions about choosing preschools or how to prepare for the upcoming school year then please don’t hesitate to reach out!

P.S: Don’t forget to shop for your premium Preschool Labels with us!

JoAnna Schwartz

I’m the Vice President here at Name Bubbles and have had a chance to work in many different areas of the company since I joined in late 2011. I graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Studio Arts in 2010. I naturally...

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