Choosing an early childhood education program is an important, albeit, nerve racking choice. With so many theories and approaches on child development, it’s hard to know which avenue to go down. Don’t place too much pressure on yourself because at the end of the day, finding a program that is both enriching and safe is a great place to begin.
Research programs that interest you
Exploring your options and digging into what is offered in your area is always a great place to start. As a parent or caregiver, you know your child the best and have the ultimate say in what specific program is going to be a good fit. If your area has a child care resource center, they may be able to provide you with listings of all the early childhood programs and centers within range of your location. Some basic criteria to look for includes:
- The hours of operation for each program
- The age range of children they admit
- What the program costs
- If the program or center is licensed
After you’ve considered the basics, delve into your personal preferences as a parent. Consider what your child may require and then call and ask some questions. Questions you may want to ask include:
- What educational philosophy do they implement?
- How involved are the parents and caregivers?
- Are there different locations?
- How many children are enrolled?
Visit the centers you like
Once you’ve done some research, take a couple tours of programs that interest you. To understand the program and to get the clearest picture — if you have the time — try and spend at least an hour at each facility. It may be a lengthy amount of time for a week or two, but it will hopefully smooth the transition in the future. A scheduled visit should include:
- A tour of the facility
- Classroom observation time
- Structured time with program director
Once you’ve had a chance to observe the classroom, this will allow for specific questions about the teachers and the program.
During the visit
Examine the classroom your child would be in
During your classroom observation consider your immediate impressions, and listen to your intuition. Do you love the program, or is it just ok? Are there any red flags or things you don’t agree with? The things that you experience, may be the things your child also experiences.
What is the energy or mood of the room? Are the kids happy in the hustle and bustle of things? What are the behaviors of both the students and teachers?
What is the physical appearance of the room? Is it clean and well-organized? Are there different sounds, textures, and colors throughout the room? Is everything age-appropriate — furniture and potential safety hazards?
Examine the materials
Before the teacher starts an activity, ask if you can take a look at what is being covered. The material will vary from each early childhood education program, and oftentimes, the teachers create a fantastic curriculum based on the needs of the classroom.
ABC Early Learning Academy
At ABC Early Learning Academy, our early learning education programs are of the highest quality. We focus on educational discovery while exploring concepts through play to help develop their social skills. We encourage you to review our programs and stop by for a visit! You’ll love what we have to offer! Contact Us today for more information.