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Many children between the ages of 3 and 4 will attend a preschool program. It is a great way for your child to become familiar with a school setting and learning how to be a student prior to entering kindergarten.

A preschool program is one that is designed for children who will be entering kindergarten in the next couple of years. They are structured much like a regular classroom would be and give the child the opportunity to learn how to be a student, how to socialize well with other children and the teacher, how to share the teachers attention with other students, and gives them a head start on their basic skills in reading, math, and spelling. No matter if your child has been in a daycare program from day one or if this is the first time they will be outside the home the challenge remains finding a good program that works for you and for your child.

Preschool programs are usually available with various schedules ranging from a fulltime schedule similar to those of a daycare program to part-time schedules where the child goes either half days or only a few hours a couple of days a week. The type of program and schedule you choose will depend on the needs of your child and your family.

Finding the right preschool can be challenging. Here are a few quick things to keep in mind when you are interviewing schools.

  • How far in advance does your child need to be registered? You may find that some schools have waiting lists so you will want to get your child on the list early.
  • Does your child need to be toilet trained? Most preschools do require that the child be toilet trained before entering the program, be sure you know if this is the case for the school your child is attending so there aren’t any surprises.
  • How involved are the parents in the school? Are their parent groups, like a PTA, that help plan programs like picnics and parties?
  • How does the teacher keep you informed about your child’s progress and how do they evaluate the children? Are there progress reports that are sent home, are their parent – teacher interviews? What areas are the children measured in?
  • How does the school and teacher approach bullying? What are the consequences if two children are fighting? It is important that you agree with the school’s discipline policy.
  • How is each day structured? How much time is devoted to learning, playing, quiet time, etc.

Be sure to thoroughly evaluate the program before signing your child up. It is a good idea to take the time to go to the school to see what the facility is like, to watch the teacher and students interacting, and to see if the environment is the right one for your child. Most schools are more than happy to accommodate parents who are interesting in visiting their facility to evaluate it. If you are having a hard time finding a preschool talk to other parents who have children in preschool or your child’s pediatrician.

Here are a couple of websites that may help in your search for the right preschool for your child.

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