Guest Post By Maggie Durango
Many moms think the day will never come; the day when they can relieve themselves, albeit temporarily, from the dedicated diligence it takes to monitor their energetic toddlers by shipping them off to preschool. The moms of young boys are particularly anxious to utilize the benefits of a preschool. It’s not that we don’t love our boys, it’s perhaps that we love them too much. There comes a time, which occurs pretty quickly in motherhood, when we realize the best thing we can do for our children is to subject them to the trials and tribulations of real life. When it comes to toddlers, preschools are the closest thing you can get to exposing your kid to “the real world.”
But not all preschools are created equal. It’s important to not just settle for the one that’s the most conveniently located between your workplace and home. There are five things you should ask yourself about the facility you’re visiting before deciding to send your son there (and yes, you better visit the preschool first!)
They are as follows:
1. Is there enough to do?
This is the single most important thing you need to establish as a prospective preschool client especially if you have a boy booming with energy. Take a look around. Is there an adequate number of activities? Are the outdoor facilities inviting, and do they encourage play? Check the toys and other equipment out to see whether or not your son would approve. Otherwise, expect to hear about temper tantrums and don’t be surprised if your kid says he hates the place.
2. Is there low staff turnaround?
Boys need leadership. If the staff in the preschool is constantly changing, or the shifts are brief and new faces pop up throughout the day, it’s going to be harder for your child to establish an appropriate dynamic with authority. When it comes to accepting adult authority, consistency and familiarity matter to most kids.
3. Is the tot-to-teacher ratio acceptable?
There’s nothing more detrimental to the benefits of preschool than an overcrowded facility. As it is with advanced levels of education, the more kids there are per adults, the less attention each child receives. Not only that, too little staff or too many kids can lead to dangerous situations of kids not being moderated. Generally speaking, preschools should have no more than eight kids for one adult.
4. Is literacy a priority?
Being able to read is the most important of basic human achievements. In a country that lags embarrassingly behind the rest of the industrialized world in terms of young adult literacy levels, it’s important to introduce your son to reading as soon as possible. Any preschool worth it’s salt is going to have an established dedicating to taking the time to teach fundamental reading and vocabulary information.
5. Is the philosophy similar to your parenting style?
Many preschools take their approach very seriously, with some following the Montessori Method while others prefer the Waldorf Approach, while others embrace various other preschool philosophies. It’s important that you ask whether or not a preschool follows such guidelines, and research the differences between them. The last thing you want is to introduce your child to a learning environment that encourages thinking or behavior that you don’t agree with. It’ll lead to a lot of confusion.
Don’t take picking a preschool lightly. Your choice is going to be your son’s first introduction to the ways of the world, or at least the ways in which people have to learn to get along and share. It’s also going to define the educational experience for him. Do the proper research and you’re sure to set your son on the path to becoming a man.