Well not for us, Isabelle has over a year before she starts pre-school, she will start part-time in January 2014 and go full-time from September 2014 which honestly seems a long time away.
Even in that time I have to make the choice on what school to send Isabelle to as the applications open in October this year and close in January. I’m not sure if that’s the same across the UK but it certainly seems procedure up here in Manchester.
I feel a little behind as I know some of my friends with children of the same age have already picked out and even been to visit schools for their little darlings and I have only just started looking. Well when I say looking, I’ve checked online to see what schools are in my local area and that’s about it.
At first I thought a school is just a school really and at preschool age how much would it really matter? It turns out after speaking to other parents that it matters A LOT! so I better get my backside in gear and start looking at first, second and third choices for preschool.
Obviously I will include reputations and recommendations from other parents, this is my first port of call. I want to know that the school will help nurture my child. The school I choose has to have a good reputation.
This may sound awful but I want a preschool that has a strict procedures and are willing to take on my concerns. Food is also important, healthy meals are a must. I don’t want to find out that my child has been having beans and chicken dippers for lunch too often, I know I can send her in with her own lunch so I can always control that factor. I want a school that will encourage healthy eating habits.
Even at this early age curriculum is important to, regular reading sessions, play time and age appropriate toys as well as encouraging the children to socialize. Organisation is also key, I can’t stress enough that lack of organisation, routine and programs leads to a poor environment.
I have recently seen concerns over parents not receiving any feedback and information about their child’s day at preschool and this scares me quite a lot actually. Isabelle will be leaving me for the majority of her day to attend preschool, she has never left me before so I want to know about her day, what she is getting up to, how she is progressing. I might be asking for too much but a small diary of Isabelle’s week would be great.
The staff are another factor here, I know all parents worry when it comes to who is looking after their child but I know that the schools have strict procedures and back ground checks so although it’s a concern I’m not overly worried there. What does concern me is their working environment, if there is a high turn over or preschool staff then there’s a problem somewhere. I want a school where the staff are happy to be there, so Isabelle’s time there is consistent.
Knowing that a school is a clean and safe place to be is a high priority on my list, I have heard stories from friends and families and even staff in childcare facilities that toys and play equipment are dirty. That eating areas have not been thoroughly cleaned. I’ve even heard staff laugh that their once white high chair is now brown with black dirty straps. This isn’t the kind of facility that I want my child to be in, I want a place that encourages hygiene for my little girl, from things as simple as washing hands.
I’d like her to feel comfortable in her environment, my little girl is an outgoing child who isn’t scared of anything (except relatives she doesn’t see often and power tools) and I would love for that to continue. I’m lucky in a way that Isabelle can be left with relatives and she is happy, she doesn’t fret for her parents as she knows that we will be back to pick her up. Recently I heard a mother say that her child was left to cry all afternoon because they weren’t happy and it broke my heart to think that it could happen to Isabelle to. I need to know that Isabelle’s settling in procedures at preschool are taken seriously and they will make the effort to see that she is comfortable, happy and at home there.
I really don’t want to be a hover mum when it comes to school or labelled as too clingy but I can’t help but worry even if it is years off yet. For now I shall enjoy spending my days with my little girl before she becomes a pre-schooler, she’s growing up far too fast.
I have a lot to think about over the next few months, I’d love to know how you chose you chose the preschool for your child. If you have any stories to share then leave us a comment