HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST PRESCHOOL FOR YOUR CHILD
The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School
by Jenifer Wana
Preschool is one of the biggest milestones in a child’s life. With few resources available to help parents navigate the preschool process, How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child fills the void with this step-by-step guide.
Whether the preschools near you enroll every child or are so competitive they can only accept a few applicants, this book offers the information and tools you need to find and select the best program for your child.
The book features:
- Insight into popular programs (Montessori, play-based, language immersion, etc.)
- Criteria to consider when choosing a preschool
- What to ask and observe during your preschool visit
- Advice for paying for preschool (including financial aid and tax benefits)
- Tips for helping your child prepare for the first day of preschool
- Advice for those applying to competitive programs, including getting off a waiting list, preparing for child and parent interviews, and writing parent statements
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Is Preschool?
- What Are the Benefits of Preschool?
- What is Preschool?
- Do I Have to Send My Child to Preschool?
- Is Private Preschool My Only Option? Is There Public Preschool?
- How Do I Know if My Child Is Ready for Preschool?
- So How Do I Get Started?
- It’s Never Too Early
- Preschool Search Timeline
- Tips for Keeping Organized
CHOOSING A PRESCHOOL: THE BASICS
- Consider Your Child’s Personality and Needs
- Consider Your Family’s Needs sand Values
- At What Age Do I Want My Child to Start Preschool?
- Sidebar: Redshirting—Should We Delay Kindergarten?
- What’s the Best Location?
- What Schedule Works Best for Our Family?
- How Much Can We Afford to Pay for Preschool?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PRESCHOOL
- What is the Classroom Like?
- What Are the Preschool Teachers Like?
- How Is the School Run? What is the Preschool Community Like?
- Dedicated Preschool or Ongoing School
- What Does the Application Process Tell You?
- Sidebar: Feeder Preschools—A Leg Up in Kindergarten Admissions?
- Sibling Policy
- Choosing a Preschool for a Special Needs Child
- Sidebar: Preschool Selection Tips for Special Needs Children
- What Are the School Policies?
- What Matters Most?
TYPES OF PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS
- Child-Centered vs. Teacher-Directed
- Play-Based / Developmental
- Reggio Emilia
- Daycare/Child Care Center
- Cooperative or Co-op Preschool
- Religious-Affiliated Preschool
- Language Immersion or Bilingual Preschool
- How to Find Preschools
- Narrowing Down Your List of Preschools
- How Many Preschools Should You Apply to?
- Checklist: Questions to Ask Current Preschool Parents
- Deciding Which Preschools to Visit
- Opportunities to Visit
- Arranging the Visit
- Preparing for Your Visit
- Observations to Make During Your Visit
- What Questions Should You Ask the Tour Guide?
- What to do After Your Visit
- Sidebar: When Your School Visit Feels Like an Interview
THE PRESCHOOL ADMISSIONS PROCESS
- Open Enrollment
- The Waiting List
- Sidebar: Tips for Getting Off the Waiting List
- Regular Admissions
- Lottery System
- How Do Preschools Decide Who Gets In?
- Admissions Requirements
- Do’s and Don’ts of Applying
SUBMITTING A STRONG APPLICATION
- General Information Section
- Application Questions
- Short Answer Questions
- Parent Statement/Essays
- Tips for Writing
- Common Application Questions
- Sample Parent Statement/Essay
- Recommendation Letters
CHILD AND PARENT INTERVIEWS
- Child Interviews
- Parent Interviews
MAKING THE FINAL DECISION
- But We Still Haven’t Heard from…
- We’ve Been Waitlisted—What Do We Do Now?
- We’ve Been Turned Down by Our Favorite Preschool—What Do We Do Now?
- What If Your Child Isn’t Accepted Anywhere?
- Accepting an Offer
PAYING FOR PRESCHOOL
- Determine Your Budget
- Getting Financial Aid
- Dependent Care Accounts
- Child Care Tax Credit
- Child Care Subsidies
PRESCHOOL READINESS SKILLS
- Cognitive Skills
- Physical Skills
- Separating from Parents
- Potty Training
COUNTDOWN TO THE FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL
- During the Summer
- Three to Four Weeks Before Preschool Starts
- Sidebar: Recommended Books and Videos About Starting Preschool
- One to Two Weeks Before Preschool Starts
- Sidebar: Preschool Gear and Supplies
- Sidebar: Stress-Free Tips for Packing Lunches
- Sidebar: Lunch and Snack Menu Ideas
- The Day Before Preschool Starts
- The First Day of Preschool
SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD THROUGHOUT PRESCHOOL
- Communicate with Your Child and the Teacher
- Be an Involved Parent
- Get to Know Other Families
- Savor Every Moment