How to Choose a Preschool

Quality Matters!

How your child spends their days during their preschool years is increasingly important. As expectations have grown in elementary school, children without the benefit of a quality, educational preschool experience may start kindergarten at a disadvantage.

So how do you know a quality center? One of the easiest ways is to ask if they are NATIONALLY ACCREDITED. Accreditation is a long and challenging process that many childcare centers simply cannot complete. If nothing else, accreditation shows a school's commitment to standards which are measurably higher than those required by Florida law.

As you get out to see different centers, are you greeted warmly when you arrive? Can the person at the front desk answer your questions, and are they eager to show you around. Be wary of a center that makes you come back for a tour at a certain time. Note that all centers have classrooms and playgrounds, but what happens in those spaces can vary greatly. As you walk around, notice the quantity of toys, books, and materials in the classrooms. Are there plenty of options to keep all of the children busy? Talk to the teacher in your child's potential class. Ask about daily schedules, curriculum, and goals. Is she knowledgeable and are you comfortable with her answers? On the playground, are there several different play structures and are there plenty of ride-on toys? Is the space large enough, and is there sufficient shade?

Finally, trust your instincts. While it's true that not everyone has the same expectations, it's also true that you have to feel good about where your child will spend their days. If you end a tour and you're not just satisfied, but impressed with what you heard, and what you saw, chances are that you've found a quality preschool worth considering.