Choosing a Pre-School for Your Child
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Published by TOP4 Team
For parents who are looking to give their children the best head start in life, the best place to start would be pre-school.
A growing body of evidence suggests that children who go to a quality pre-school perform better academically in later years, possessing better vocabulary and math skills.
Although informal classes like dance and music classes offer several benefits to pre-schoolers, pre-school education offers one unique advantage: it helps prepare kids for formal education. In short, pre-school bridges the gap between informal learning (at home or other institutions) and the formal learning a child will receive a few years later. Here, the child learns the acts and behaviours that is expected of him in a classroom setting.
Pre-school also helps prepare a child socially. It provides him with the opportunity to acquire and hone social skills like respecting his peers and those older than him as well as problem solving skills. Acquiring and developing these will help build a child's confidence, not only in exploring the self vis-a-vis his peers and new environments, but also in one's skills, especially as the child grows older.
During pre-school, a child gains a good measure of independence, being able to perform a few key tasks like setting the table. Although pre-school can teach children their ABCs, its primary value stems from allowing the child to make the seamless transition from home life toward academic life. This entails the use of imagination, socialisation and creativity, often through stories, singing and movements. All of these will help serve as an anchor for future learning and academic performance.
This is why choosing a pre-school for your child is a matter that should not be rushed into.
Begin your search with recommendations from friends and relatives or even from your colleagues from work. From there, you may want to cast a wider net by looking for suitable pre-schools from magazines and Internet searches.
You can narrow down your list further by taking into account other factors like your budget and the proximity of the pre-school to your home or work location. When you have whittled down your list, the next thing you need to do is to ask each school on your list a few questions.
First, you'd like to know whether the school is accredited and enforces clear and fair rules. Another thing that you would want to know ahead is the ratio of the teacher to students. A low ratio means that your child will receive ample attention from the teacher and staff.
Next, you would want to know the philosophy that the pre-school adheres to. Whether the pre-school favours traditional principles or contemporary ones, the important thing to look for is a philosophy that aligns with your goals for your son or daughter.
When you have narrowed down you shortlist, the next thing you need to do is visit each school remaining on your list and check the facilities and observe classroom lessons. You may also want to bring your child along and gauge his or her interest in the activities as well as the premises of the school.