Oh goodness, friends…it was a process picking a preschool for Camden and Ella! I thought I’d share about my experience in case it might help someone. If you’re local to Charleston, I’m sorry but I will not be naming the schools I toured or the school we selected. This is for my kids’ own safety and because it’s just my opinion and I don’t want to hurt another schools’ reputation.
First things first, I toured 10 schools and they were all very different! My first tip is to have all your questions printed out ahead of time so that you can make sure all of your questions are answered. Here is a list of questions or topics to look into:
- What is the cost?
- What are the days/hours?
- Will my kids be in the same class?
- Are meals or snacks provided?
- Teacher/child ratio
- Class size
- Staff experience, education, background checks
- What does a normal day look like?
- Will they be going outside every day to play?
- Sick child policy
- Do we have top priority to return the following year or how does re-enrollment works?
- How is discipline handled?
- Security (doors locked, open door policy)
- Are there ever students left alone with teachers or is it always a 2:1 ratio?
- Do you use an app to track check in/check out, send messages, post pictures?
- Is it ok if we miss class occasionally?
I toured 10 schools, yes 10! I am that crazy mom! While some of them had a lot of similarities, they were all pretty different. I could see my kids at only 3 of them though! We have ours ranked and I’m hoping we get into our first choice but if not, I know my kids will be in good hands at the next two on our list as well.
Here is a list of things I liked about the preschools:
- Had large classrooms with a lot of natural light
- Teachers and staff were friendly
- 2-3 teachers per classroom!
- Nice playground
- Very clean facility
- I loved the curriculum (all 3 schools we’re down to, have very similar curriculums)
- Hosts fun events like Grandparents Day or holiday shows
- Security was top notch
Having toured 7 preschools that I couldn’t even picture my kids at, I have quite a long list of things I didn’t like:
- Small rooms with not much natural light
- Parents rotate bringing snacks for the class, I’m sorry but this is not for me! I like knowing for now what is going in my toddler’s bodies.
- We want part time preschool and while one offered it, they charge the same price for part time and full time. This seemed ridiculous to me!
- One preschool kept the nap mats in the bathroom- eww!
- No security cameras in the building
- Old/small playground
- Only 1 teacher per class
- Not every teacher was CPR certified
- Now the one that made me really angry stated that they would place my twins in separate classrooms. I know in the future we will be separating Camden and Ella, what year that is I’m not sure but it won’t be their first year. I did not appreciate a preschool telling me what’s best for my children when they haven’t even met them or know anything about them. #endrant 😉
I am so excited for my two kiddos to start preschool next year! I know they are going to love it.
I hope this helps someone in selecting the perfect preschool for their child or children! It’s not always a fun process but it’s so important! Good luck, mamas!!
This is a great list. We got lucky and had an amazing pre-school in our complex, and luckily got in. In NYC it is like a blod sport to try to get into a good school for any age group!
You have got some great advice here, thank you for sharing!
Ntensibe Edgar Michael
Definitely! You had in mind quite the detailed check-list for your two babies. If anybody is to simply wander through different schools, they will end up with “nothing” since they all “look the same”. Kudos and let’s see where this step takes us all.
Goodmorning and thanks so much for sharing am working on that now for my daughter so this was very resourceful!
I think this is going to help a lot of moms and dads. Picking a preschool requires a lot of thought. You want a place of education and fun, not just a glorified babysitting service.
It’s so frightening and a true sign of the times that top notch security is now a requirement. I can’t even imagine that level of anxiety. Very helpful post.
I don’t think touring 10 schools is crazy. Nothing is more valuable or important than our babies. Good for you for making a well educated decision!
It is such an important choice, as you say it pays to do your research and make sure they go somewhere that you feel really comfortable with.
It’s so important to not only research and visit but to ask around. We found, what we thought, was the best preschool and then a few weeks in, our daughter was bitten in the face TWICE by the same boy, days apart. The school refused to do anything but write up an incident report and kept calling it an accident. The same thing happened to our neighbor’s daughter in another classroom. We found so many things wrong with that school in the short time we were there. We were so much more selective after that!
Wow, you really did your homework. I don’t have kids but when I do, my friend’s mom runs a preschool out of her house, so I will probably just take my kids there. haha plus she lives a mile away from me.
Eileen M Loya
I am happy you wrote about this. It is a great resource especially for first time parents. My primary concern then was safety. I did ask a lot of questions, observed how classes were being conducted, etc. After all, you will be entrusting your child to them for a few hours each day so you have to be sure they are safe, and happy with lots of learning fun.
How important it is to select a good preschool can’t be debated. Every parent look for a good one for sure.
Very nice advise. Getting into a really good preschool is so very important for the kids today. And a tough challenge deciding on which one. This post has so methodically listed the dos.
Not only is this super important, as a children’s education sets them up for life, but there is also some good information here x
Great question parents should really consider when selecting a pre-school. It helps them in the most important and age to start their education at that cute age.
Farah Al Zadjaly
This is such good tips and helpful.. I sent it to my sister as she was confused and worried.
I like that you mentioned touring multiple preschools until you found some that you could see your kids at. My brother is looking for a preschool to take his little boy to, but my nephew is very active and loves to run around. I’ll have to help him research preschools in his area online to find one that has the types of activities that will help manage my nephew’s extra energy while also preparing him for kindergarten.
It never crossed my mind that choosing a preschool with the best amenities and staff could help your child learn better. My best friend is about to become a parent and I want to help him out with parenting. I will let him know about pre-schools and how they could help him.