Giving My Child The Skills To Grow

Three Signs Of A Great Preschool You Might Not Know To Look For

by Albert Davidson

Some of the signs of a fantastic preschool are pretty obvious: what kind of reviews are they getting from other parents? Do the children there seem happy when you go for an initial visit? When you're looking for the perfect preschool pick for your tot, though, you want to find one that will go the extra mile--and there are a few subtler signs that can help you spot your family's best choice.

#1: Does the preschool space look like a room in which kids really play?

Obviously, you'll want to look for somewhere with clean, well-maintained facilities—but don't let a bit of mess put you off. A good preschool looks played in and is obviously a space in which children feel free to move around and be themselves. If you visit during the day and everything looks rigidly tidy, it might be a sign that the teachers are a little stricter and more limiting than children this age really need to thrive. Keep an eye out too for the way the kids interact with each other: lots of sharing and co-playing is a good sign, while children who seem bored or aimless or very still and quiet might mean you want to take some extra time to think over your options.

#2: Are there lots of signs of the kids' own work up on the walls?

The best preschools don't follow a rigid set of lessons, and they aren't offering specific instruction in arts and crafts. They should, however, be encouraging the children to create and explore on their own terms--and showing off their creations is a big part of this. Look for a preschool that seems to change its displays regularly, and that is showcasing its pupils' work at the eye level of the children in the classroom. It's worth having a look at other materials up on the walls, too; if these are well-made, well-maintained and age-appropriate, that's a signal that the staff are dedicated and engaged.

#3: Has thought gone into the selection of toys on offer?

You don't necessarily want to go for the preschool that seems to have all the popular toys from all the big Pre-K age group franchises. Some of that stuff is great, and the kids do enjoy it—but the best toys are those that stand the test of time and encourage open-ended, creative, collaborative play. Sandboxes, building blocks and real-life-themed playsets are all often a better call than the latest electronic gadgets! Toys like this let kids learn and explore together, and can be used in multiple ways for a variety of games.

For more information, visit preschools in your area.