When it’s time to send your child to preschool, it can feel overwhelming for families. Choosing the right preschool for your family in Phoenix can feel daunting. Unlike high school or college, most adults don’t remember their own experiences with preschool! Without personal experience to draw from, it can feel like you’re starting from scratch.
Luckily, there are professional organizations dedicated to making sure preschools meet the highest standards in the education and care of young children. One such organization is the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC. They offer parents a roadmap for identifying high-quality preschools. Using the NAEYC standards, parents have a way to measure prospective programs.
The best way to get to know a preschool is to visit. But it can be hard to know what to look for. Here are some things to notice when you’re visiting:
When researching preschools, look for programs that use a play-based curriculum. Research shows that preschool-aged children learn best through hands-on play experiences. Any preschool you’re considering should offer children ample time to explore and grow through play. On the flip side, you’ll want to avoid schools that utilize worksheets or have children sitting for long periods of time.
When choosing a preschool, look for programs that allow teachers to serve as guides to children. Teachers should monitor students during their play, offering input that will further theirl learning. You’ll also want to make sure the program meets state requirements for student-to-teacher ratio. At this preschool age, this usually means having two adults in the room when there are more than 10 students.
Classrooms Designed with Students in Mind
Pay attention to what is displayed at the school. You want to choose a preschool that encourages student ownership of their classroom and school. Student work should be displayed on the walls. This might be artwork or a project the class did together. Many schools also post photos of students or their families, another reminder that the classroom is a safe place.
Preschools should also include a lot of labels. Objects should be labeled with words and images to help promote print awarenes in emerging readers. This also helps students take ownership of the classroom by allowing them to keep materials organized. Students know where to put their toys away when the shelves are labeled with words and images.
Preschool-aged children are always practicing positive behavior. This is a normal part of learning and growing. But when visiting a school, pay special attention to how adults promote positive behaviors and support students when they make mistakes.
Schools and classrooms should have reminders for students about self-regulation: calm-down areas, posters about emotions, and even scripts that help children express themselves. If a student gets upset or makes a poor choice, an adult should speak to them about the behavior and present a logical consequence. This might look like the loss of a privilege, helping to fix or clean up something that has been broken, or apologizing.
Fostering Family Involvement
Make sure to ask how the school keeps familes involved in their child’s learning. Communication should happen daily between the school and families. Ask if the school uses any online communication, like Facebook or another app, to show what is happening during the day. Sharing photos of the day is a wonderful way for schools let families know how their child spends their day.
High-Quality Preschool in Phoenix, Arizona
Valley Childcare and Learning Centers are play-based daycare and preschool programs in the Phoenix area. We use play to help children learn and grow. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate, meeting children where they are and helping them thrive. The curriculum also aligns with the Arizona Early Learning Standards.
We prioritize keeping families involved in their child’s learning. Families are encouraged to stay in regular contact with teachers so their child is best supported. Teachers are able to offer daily feedback on your child’s learning.
In our Phoenix preschool programs, you’ll find no contracts or hidden fees.
We offer straightforward, flexible tuition options that work for busy families. This option has continued to make a top choice for families searching for the best childcare and preschool programs in Phoenix since 1967.