Choosing an adequate Day Care/ Pre School is a basic responsibility that a parent has to undertake. Values, manners, etiquette and safety are key points that one must for in a Day Care / pre school. Parents always want the best for the child, and that must begin while choosing the first step in a child’s education.
Children are very impressionable; they are made by the environment they are raised in. Not only that, children are also malleable that their core values and traits can be shaped very strongly at a young age. So choosing a pre-school that imbibes the necessary traits and values in children helps a great deal. It helps create school ready children.
The modern parent is busy, and the advent of nuclear families have reduced the availability of support systems, so the responsibility of early childhood education and grooming inadvertently falls to the Crèche and Pre School that is chosen.
1.AGE POLICY WITH REGARDS TO ADMISSION
The first thing to keep in mind when the hunt for a pre school begins is the age policy. While quite a few pre schools have a blanket starting age which maybe 1.5 years or 2 years, this may not be the best way to start as an age-based curriculum and grooming is key while handling small children. In many cases a concept called play group precedes Pre schools and this prepares children to begin their learning process. Age appropriate grooming, if not done, could prove damaging to a child’s development and has an impact on his/her developmental milestones.
Therefore finding the eligibility criteria and age policy of the school is crucial in order to ensure the right education for the child. This would help to further plan at which age a parent is willing to put their child in regular school.
2.REPUTATION OF PRE SCHOOL
Word of mouth is important while finalizing a pre school for your child. Pre schools are aplenty in any locality of any city but their quality and standards are hard to judge on first impression. A pre-school with a good reputation in the real world and in social media can help you choose it over another comparable option. A pre-school achieves good reputation by service and standards and this can be a guiding factor for parents because a parent will rarely recommend a child care service unless they are extremely happy with their own experience.
Search online and on social media, read reviews, ratings and comments, assess the Preschool’s customer engagement, check how long the brand and the particular centre have been operational.
All this would help in finding the best fit for your child.
Timings and distance are also important because a child of that age is completely dependent in terms of travel and transportation.
It is usually advised that the parents’ place of work or residence should be in close proximity to the pre school. This helps in the parent dropping the child on the way to work and picking up on the way back. Also, if in the off chance the child becomes unwell it becomes easier for the parent to come and pick up the child if and when necessary.
Pre Schools usually work in the morning session or have a mid-morning batch but often parents cannot leave work to come and pick them up once the Preschool session is completed. So, many Preschools these days offer day care services extended through the day for the convenience of working parents. Parents can choose a timing of their choice based on work timings where the child is engaged before and after the Preschool session after the parent drops the child and until the child is picked up.
4.FEES AND CHARGES
You will find Pre schools with prices ranging from 20,000 to few lakhs per annum so make sure you choose one which fits your desired budget. Be sure that there is value offered for the price you are paying.
It is also advised to check whether the payments are to be done in one go or in installments and if installments are applicable what are the structure options. Registration charges are usually paid separately and the breakup of what the overall fee is for must be noted for clarity.
5.INFRASTRUCTURE AND SAFETY PARAMETERS
A parent must visit the pre school to assess the safety features and whether the facilities are in accordance to what is displayed in the brochures.
While visiting the pre school, make sure to ask about the infrastructure and safety processes. Pre schools must possess Public Building Certificates which certifies that the building has been inspected for fire safety, sanitation, and other parameters and is indicated safe. Make sure to check that all centres under a certain brand all have the required certificates and licenses.
Also check for safety mats in the play area and note the toy quality. A lot of free space is required for children to move around and play as it helps expand their movement scope and also avoids the possibility of them getting hurt while playing around congested furniture.
A parent must also see if the Preschool provides rounded edges, dummied sockets and other potential hazards which the school have taken care to nullify.
Additionally, it is advised if they an on-call doctor and a hospital tie up.
It is important to consider facilities on offer and whether a holistic play-learn balance is maintained. A pure classroom atmosphere isn’t healthy, even learning should be a mix of fun and experiences. A pre-school should provide an adequate place, equipment, and resources for a child to learn.
Check how many teachers and attendants are there and whether snacks, water, food is provided or will have to be sent from home.
Many Preschools have day care facilities, after-school care and skill learning activities.
A parent must enquire whether the child will be potty trained in the centre and the teacher-student ratio for all services offered.
There are different curriculums followed in pre schools.
Montessori, Playway are two popular methods but Experience-based learning methods have come into prominence because they are more age appropriate at the play group and Preschool level.
Find out what curriculum is followed and its benefits and advantages over the others. Also check the type of activities that the kids will be made to do throughout the year and how the curriculum is structured.
Communication between the parents and the facilitators is a very crucial factor in tracking a child’s development and to ensure any red flags are identified and addressed.
Choosing a pre-school might be a time-consuming process but eventually is worth it as it for the sake of the child.