Questions Preschool Directors Wish Parents Would Ask

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Questions parents should ask preschool directors

“I’m amazed when parents come in to enroll their child without asking any questions or touring the school,” says De Hamer. “Some parents have already made up their minds based on the referral from a friend. But the preschool has to be the right fit for each child.” Asking questions should be an important part of every preschool search.

How many questions are too many? De Hamer once had a parent who had three pages of typewritten questions but De Hamer did not mind answering all of her questions.

“There is no limit on the number of questions you can ask,” says De Hamer. “When you’re entrusting your child to me, you have every right to know the answer to every question you have.”

Preschool director Antoinette Crivello points out that preschools have a responsibility to provide information.

“I believe it is the job of the school staff to make sure that parents are very well informed about its curriculum. A well-organized school will have important information about the school outlined in a packet to give to families,” says Crivello. She adds, “There are, however, important questions that parents should have in mind when shopping for a school.”

Ask about educational philosophy

Preschool directors agreed that the most important questions parents should ask revolve around the type of educational philosophy that drives the school and the qualifications of the teachers.

“The parent needs to find a school that has a philosophy that they believe in,” says De Hamer, “not just the first school that has an opening.”

Questions may include:

What is the school’s educational philosophy? Is it developmental, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, academic, faith-based or something else? How does the philosophy shape the daily curriculum and activities? How does it affect class size? Does it support more group activities or individual learning? How is learning encouraged?

“I would expect a parent to ask what their child will be doing during the day,” says preschool director Jean Johnson. Educational philosophies can guide the way a day is structured. What may seem like play to parents is often an important part of learning.

Ask about teachers’ qualifications, turnover and training

Teaching qualifications vary greatly among preschools.

“There is little experience and education required by law for someone to be a preschool teacher,” notes Crivello. “Teachers at the beginning of their career can often be very good, but they should be working in a school where there are experienced staff to help mentor them.”

What is the turnover rate of the teachers?

“If there is a big turnover, it could be traumatic for the child who has to keep going through changes,” says De Hamer. Teachers and preschool directors who have been at a school for a long time are likely happy with their environment and this satisfaction filters down to the children.

What is the teacher-to-child ratio? An average class of 3- or -4-year-olds should have no more than 10 children per adult, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Also ask preschool directors if their staff members are trained in CPR and First Aid? Have the teachers undergone a background check?

Ask about discipline

Every school deals with discipline a little differently.

Is the way the school handles discipline compatible with the way you as the parent discipline your child? What is the policy for biting or disruptive students? How are parents notified of problems?

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