Choosing a Preschool that’s Right for You!

Choosing a Preschool that's right for you

Yesterday we took a big step in our little family and signed my daughter up for preschool. This is something we have been debating on doing for about the last year and wanted to make sure that she would be socially and mentally ready before taking this big step.

When I told my family that we were looking into preschools they looked at me like I was insane. “You are so protective of her, you barely let strangers babysit and you are letting her go off to school?” was the most common reaction. The second was, “Well, I hope you did your homework because you hear all of those horror stories on the news and I just cannot imagine…(insert various horror story here)” You would think that my family is well aware that I am a planner and very cautious about anyone who is around my daughter. I took some very big steps to ensure we were choosing a preschool perfect for our family, somewhere we would be comfortable leaving her, well, as comfortable as walking on broken glass can be.

I researched the each of the local “schools” in the area. Most of these centers were daycares. I have no bias against daycares, they can be amazing places where children get a very good education and grow into amazing little humans. My nephews have been in daycare the majority of their lives and they are two of the smartest, well mannered and empathic boys I know. Their parents often say that a lot of the skills they show are learned from daycare.

The difference between a daycare and a preschool can be boiled down to one big difference, age groups. Daycares often care for younger children, as young as infants, where as preschools have an age cut off, and often 2 to 2 1/2. They also tend to have a more academically focus as opposed to daycares, which tend to be more caregiver focused. That is not always the case but tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

We checked out about 5 schools in total ranging from church preschool/daycares to Montessori focused schools. A couple would not show me around, which I understand, their responsible for the care of those children and I did not call or anything. I wanted to show up unannounced because that would be something I would do if my daughter went there. I want to make sure they are always performing at a high level and not just at pick up and drop off. I was able to see some of the classroom areas if they were empty, and usually the playground areas from behind the fence. They seemed nice.

I always asked what the teacher’s qualifications were. I want to make sure that we are not sending buggy somewhere just to do it her but rather that she gets something out of it. I was unpleasantly surprised to find out a lot of time they did not have early childhood education degrees but rather only passed the state requirements and some had teachers with no qualifications but were under constant supervision, which bothered me a bit.

In the end we decided to go with one that is right up the street. It is a true preschool, she has to be 2 before she can attend, and they have a curriculum, which is very impressive. The school is clean as heck and very accommodating. I walked in for the first time at 10am on a Wednesday, they had no clue I was coming, and the front office staff was wonderful. They gave me tons of information and then gave my daughter and I a tour of the facilities. There was no hesitation, no please wait here while we clean up or anything like that. I was able to ask as many questions as I needed and spoke to the owner about why they started the facility and a teacher, who was on lunch, about what they’re teaching methods were based on.

They have a top-notch security system, which lets be honest, in today’s world is a necessity. The classrooms are beautiful and wonderfully stocked. I could not find anything my daughter might need that they did not have. The kids, who I was able to watch through windows, looked happy, engaged and challenged.

I was encouraged to bring my husband back before making a final choice and they gave me a ton of reference information to take home to study. I just got a good feeling from the place. It helps that a bunch of the kids from our neighborhood already attend and so we had heard good things from the beginning.

I know I might not be 100% ready for Buggy to take this big step into kid-hood but she is ready. I will follow up next week with how I made the right choice to send her as opposed the selfish one I wanted to make of keeping her home for another year. In the end it is up to you about what you are looking for in a school. Make sure you are comfortable and as we are always very big on here follow that mommy instinct.

How did you pick where your child eventually ended up going to school or daycare? What were some of your biggest concerns and must haves?


The Perfectionist Mom

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  1. Nice article. My son is 6 now and we are homeschooling. But when he was younger he was in preschool. I started out just leaving him a couple half days per week to try it out. I went and toured it and peaked in the windows like a crazy stalking mom to make sure all was okay. Everything started out great and my son loved it, but after a year or so he started not wanting to go and I thought it was a phase until one of his teachers paid me a visit and told me that the management had changed hands and my child was be mistreated. She asked me not to tell anyone she had told me because she didn’t want to let go. But she liked us. I took him out that day. My advice is always to listen to your children and go with your gut.
    Lacey Charrene recently posted…Amazing Deer Tenderloin Recipes & TipsMy Profile

    1. That is insane! I would have taken him out right away too. I have never heard of such a thing as a facility changing hands and tacts changing that much. Totally inexcusable!

  2. This was an interesting choosing preschool that is right for you is a personal chose no doubt one that I am sure you will make the right decision. It is never an easy decision to let them go. Take lots of photo and enjoy. Thanks for sharing.
    Patrice M Foster recently posted…Children need love: It’s your responsibility to give itMy Profile

    1. I will. I am still having slight reservations about her starting preschool and I think it is mostly because she is only 2 and I feel that is still a bit young. I am just happy to know that no matter what she will be taken care of whether she is with me or with this amazing school.

  3. SO cute! What a big step for the children and parents. Great tips on making the right choice for everyone!
    Krayl @ An Appealing Plan recently posted…Zesty Southern Pimento Cheese My Profile

    1. Thank you so much. It is a huge step and I am not sure how I will be handling it come the day she starts!

  4. This comes at a great time! I’m just now choosing a school for my toddler to go to next fall – and it’s so difficult. I’m worried to make the wrong decision, and I’m also worried about her going in general!
    Madaline recently posted…American Craftsman in ItalyMy Profile

    1. I understand completely! I am still having slight reservations even though I know we found an amazing school. It is never an easy choice. Good luck with your search!

  5. Our son attended half day preschools from 9 months to 4 years old. It’s such a complicated process to find the right fit. Asking around and seeing if like-minded parents can give you a recommendation are key!
    Joyce Brewer (@MommyTalkShow)J recently posted…Where to Buy Affordable Workout ClothesMy Profile

    1. I agree that was one of the biggest things that helped us. We are lucky enough to have a lot of like minded parents right on our street with kids the same age so they were indispensable when it came to start looking!

  6. I remember this struggle! The one for kindergarten was even worse for me! I hope the school you’ve chosen is a great fit!
    LaShawn recently posted…On Taking Leaps of FaithMy Profile

    1. Thank you! I cannot imagine kindergarten, this was tough enough but I am sure that is going to be impossible!

  7. My children are homeschooled so I didn’t have to go through the process of choosing a preschool for them, but I can appreciate all the time and care you took to choose one that would be a good fit. I hope she likes it 🙂
    Miranda recently posted…Who Said You Can’t Do It?My Profile

    1. We debated on homeschooling but I felt like the socialization was an important aspect that I could not recreate. That is why we are doing half days. I figured that way she gets the best of both worlds and we will know what works for us by the time real school starts.

  8. This is so adorable. I can remember battling through the same thing when trying to choose a suitable school for my son, I did as much research as I could. It was difficult for me too because I am a bit like you, I hardly ever let my son sleep out or leave him with a babysitter if it’s not my mum and he’s six! #ibabloggers
    Linda recently posted…I’ve Learned To Listen To My Mother!My Profile

    1. Thank you! I totally understand the not wanting to leave your children. It is tough, my husband keeps telling me she has to grow up sometime and I keep saying, “Well she is only 2, give her time.”

  9. This is such a hard decision for parents to make and every family is different. You are right that in this day and age it is so important to have a place that you can take your children where you KNOW they are going to be safe, well cared for and learning when they aren’t with you. Good for you for taking your time and finding the right place for your baby!

    1. Thank you so much! Our children are the most important thing in this world and we need to do our due diligence to make sure they are protected. I agree 100%.

  10. This post was so timely for me as we’ve been looking at nursery schools for our daughter and just signed up for one this morning! A must have for me was a curriculum, but a flexible one. Friendly and well-trained staff, healthy snacks, free play as well as structured time, and that they are willing to work with us on potty training. I’m a teacher so pretty picky! I’m glad you found one!
    Jennifer recently posted…17 St. Patrick’s Day Activities for KidsMy Profile

    1. Our has all of the same thing. I swear I must have asked a thousand questions. Some of which I thought were kind of silly but if I didn’t ask I wouldn’t know the answer so they were very important to me. We have a lot of teachers in our family and I got a laundry list of things to ask and I am SO glad I did. Good luck to you and your little girl!

  11. I like how you went unannounced. That is what we did, too, and it really helped us decide on the best option for my daughter. Great read!
    betsy sproger recently posted…How Homeschooling Helped my Teen Make the Dean’s ListMy Profile

    1. It is the smartest way to go. It made a huge impression when they would not show us around, even if there was a perfectly sound reason it made me wonder if they were hiding something. Thank you for reading!

  12. Awesome Article! Daycare help to improve the child early education with confident. also, they improve social skills before he starts school from daycare. Nice post you have shared.

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