Categorized | Education, Starting Preschool

How to Find The Best Preschool Program For Your Toddler

Once you have decided that your toddler is now ready for preschool, the next step is to find a program that best fits your toddler’s developmental needs and learning style. This can be a stressful period in your life since you have to consider a lot of factors to help you choose only the best. But, finding a preschool program that is a perfect match for you and your toddler can be less stressful when you start your search early.

When in search of the best preschool program, you have to take note of two things – the school’s curriculum and your toddler’s reaction to the school. Keep in mind that your little one needs good education without leaving the fun behind. Start your search early, be prepared and follow these simple steps:

1.) Identify your priorities.

Before starting your research, take some time to go over your toddler’s needs and demands. Does he have special needs? Is he extremely shy and still scared of being exposed to new surroundings? What particular improvements do you think your child needs the most? Remember to focus on his needs rather than your personal wants.

2.) Do your homework.


Conduct your research by utilizing different tools. Compile a list of preschool programs within your area. Ask your relatives, friends or neighbors for recommendations. Seek advice from child care consultants to help you meet the accurate learning approach for your toddler. Scan the yellow pages and newspaper ads for more information. Go online and visit the different databases of preschools in your local area.

Go Over Your Budget

The next step is to know how much you can afford. Know your budget. By doing so, you are able to narrow down your list helping you search for preschool programs that fit well within your budget.

Know How Each Program Works

  • Bank Street Program. A less structured curriculum that presents different activities for the mental, social, cognitive, physical and emotional development of toddlers. Teachers decide what to work on and when. Perfect for your toddler if he thrives on a free-form schedule.
  • High/Scope Program. Preschool program that focuses on toddlers’ active interaction with people, activities and events. Students in this program are encouraged to make their own choices while the teachers are trained to support the students’ decision making. It covers all aspects of toddler development so toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities get to advance in their own pace.
  • Home Based Program. Recommended for toddlers needing special care and attention, a home based preschool program is prepared by child experts or by parents. However, getting the right curricula for this program can be difficult.
  • International Preschool Curriculum. A world leader in bringing child experts together to produce a rigorous and structured early childhood education making it one of the most outstanding preschool programs across the United States.
  • Montessori Program. Focuses on five major areas – cultural subjects, language, mathematics, sensory awareness and practical living. Best for toddlers who prefers a hands-on learning environment. Personal attention is given specifically to toddlers with special difficulties (e.g. ADD, hyperactivity, psychological needs, etc.).
  • Waldorf Program. A group-oriented preschool program with a home-like environment. Encourages creative free play providing toddlers with countless opportunities to hone their skills. Perfect if your toddler thrives on order and consistency.

3.) Visit and interview.

Once you have narrowed down your search, make an appointment to interview the staff. Keep in mind that a good preschool program needs to have well-defined policies and procedures. Tour the school and check if every area is child friendly. Observe how they instil their discipline techniques. Watch and observe how the children interact with their peers, how they respond to their teacher. Are the students happy, active and cheerful? Does the teacher provide structure? Is she warm and welcoming? When you see the children are happy, then there is a good chance your toddler will have fun in this environment.

4.) Hold a trial period.

To try it out, let your toddler accompany you during your next visit. Look for natural responses and interaction. See how your little one socializes with the staff and how they respond to him. Afterwards, ask him if he likes the school, his reaction to the setting and the people and if he wants to go back again.

When your toddler had a great day and is asking for more, then you know you have found the perfect preschool program for him.

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