Mom Monday-How to choose a preschool program for your family

25 Aug

As the kids start to head back to school, you may need to choose a preschool program for your family.  As a parent, don’t you feel that every decision you make will just make or break your child (No?  Well, I do!).  As a crazy perfectionist, I have been doing research since my son was in the womb on which preschool would be best for our family.  He’s almost two now, so he is eligible for early preschool!  That means, my crazy, obsessive researching has gone into high gear.  What I have learned has made me realize that my borderline pathological research is not for nothing.

How to choose a preschool that is right for your family by Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Did you know that preschool lays the foundation for your child’s entire educational life?  The path you choose now will help determine how your child prefers to learn later in life.  In preschool, kids start to learn the basics – letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and most importantly, social skills and how to learn.  So what is the best choice for your family?  You really have to look at what’s important to you.  Is it important for your child to have the freedom to learn in a more natural way or is it important for your child to learn routine and structure?  There is no wrong choice, there is only a matter of what your family is willing and able to continue at home after the school day ends.

What are your preschool program options?

There are six different types of preschool structures to choose from, but choose carefully.  It’s important to continue the educational process and support your school structure at home.  Let’s take a quiz to see what fits best for you –  because that is the only fun way to choose!  Get your pen and paper out, and don’t copy your neighbor’s quiz!

1.  Which do you prefer?

Structured learning. (5 pt)

Free play based learning. (1 pt)

C. Hands-on, experience based learning. (3 pts)

2.  What do you want the educational focus to be on?

Academics (5 pts)

Emotional skills (3 pt)

Fostering natural talents (1 pts)

3.  How much structure do you want?

Routine and structure is important. (5 pts)

I want my child to set the learning pace. (1 pt)

Some structure, but provides enough free-play and time for my child to make independent experiences. (3 pts)

4.  How much involvement do you want in your child’s education?

 Some – I want to be able to continue my child’s education outside of school. (3 pts)

I want a natural marriage of the school’s educational structure and home educational structure. (1 pt)

I want to be very involved. (3 pts)

 How to choose a preschool program by Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Now, count up  your points!

(17-21 pts)

Highscope Model:  Look for a preschool that uses the active-participatory (Highscope) model.  This model is structured, with a distinct routine.  It focuses on math, reading, and science.  The education is based on hands-on experiences with the child’s surroundings.

(11-15 pts)

Montessori Model:  Montessori takes a developmental approach to education.  Children learn through nature, creativity, and hands-on learning.  It’s goal is to develop the child’s character, life skills, and academic ability.  It is student led and educators are required to have a higher education.

(5-10 pts)

Reggio Emelia Theory:  The most common type of preschool in America uses this Reggio Emelia theory.  It focuses on child-led education that is geared toward self-expression and creativity.  No higher education is required for preschool teachers using this method.

(9-14 pts)

The Bank Street Theory:  This theory is focused on developing the child’s mental, social, emotional, and physical growth.  The education is done primarily through experience and kinesthetic play (blocks, clay, puzzles).  Students set the pace.

(13-18 pts)

Waldorf Approach:  The Waldorf approach is focused on finding and fostering the child’s natural talents.  It’s a creative, play-based education that focuses on creating enthusiasm for education.

(21-25 pts)

Parent co-op:  This type of preschool focuses on teaching kids social skills such as cooperating and resolving conflict.  

If your score falls into two categories, either school would work for your child.  Choose what makes the most sense for your family.

Choosing the right entrance to education is a difficult decision. Choose a preschool program that’s right for your family.  It’s different for every family and should be taken seriously.  Before making a decision, visit several schools that educate based on the educational theories that appeal to you – and maybe some that don’t!  You never know; you might find that you were leaning toward a Highscope preschool, but visited a Waldorf preschool and that just felt right for you.  Keep an open mind!  The important thing is that your baby (they will always be babies to us, won’t they?) is getting the best education possible.

I’m Sarah of Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog.  I’m a marketer, mama, and Mrs. from Chicago.  My blog is a resource for bloggers, small businesses, and working parents to learn more Sarah Noelabout marketing, blogging, and balancing work and life.  I help people make their corner of the internet uniquely theirs through brand coaching.  I’d love to hear from you, so stop on over to the blog and say hi!

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