10 Things that Make a Preschool Great

As parents, we’ve all heard the doom and gloom messages about the quality of early education these days. But here’s the good news: preschools everywhere are getting better all the time. Admittedly, if we at Age of Montessori could have our way, we’d probably make every preschool on earth a Montessori school (an authentic Montessori school, to be precise). But what we really want is for every child to have a great education and, therefore, a great start in life.

So, if your child is six or under and you are looking for that perfect preschool, here are a few things to keep in mind.

10 Things that Make a Preschool Great:

1.) Your child has freedom of movement most of the time. Whether he is playing, working with materials, or interacting with other children, he is not expected to sit quietly for long periods of time.

2.) Your child is engaged in activities, games, or lessons, as opposed to wandering around aimlessly.

3.) Your child has access to a variety of different activities or materials and the freedom to choose what interests her most. She shouldn’t be limited to the same thing at the same time every day.

4.) Teachers are able to spend time working with individual children or small groups during the day. The class should not be grouped together as a whole all the time.

5.) Classrooms should be tidy and attractive as children need order and beauty. Even very young children can and should be involved in keeping their environment tidy and orderly.

6.) In addition to early reading and math skills, your child’s curriculum should include learning about nature, animals and plants, real-life activities like meal preparation or putting materials away, and self-care techniques such as hand-washing or putting on their own coat or shoes.

7.) Your child should have extended, uninterrupted periods of time to focus on activities or play.

8.) Worksheets are rarely, or ideally never used.

9.) Your child should have outdoor time every day.

10.) The curriculum should be flexible. Whether your child is a reading superstar or prefers to work with numbers, the classroom should be adaptable to every child’s individual learning path and pace. Children should not be expected to all learn the same thing at the same time.

Most of all, your child should like going to school. Of course, expect some reluctance at the beginning of anything new. But after an initial adjustment period, your child should look forward to school, not complain, or act as if they dread going. If this is the case, it might be time to look into another school.

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