Your little one is finally ready to go to school! If you are like me, I couldn’t wait for preschool to start. I did mommy and me preschool programs even before my daughter was old enough for preschool. After 2 children and 3 preschool programs, I consider myself an expert when it comes to choosing the right preschool. Here are my tips for choosing the right preschool.
Pick a Preschool Close to Home
I can’t stress this enough. This is my number one tip for choosing the right preschool. Typical preschool programs are short. Usually 3 hour days a few times a week. Especially if you have a two year old toddler starting out, you may be looking at 2 hours to start and gradually building up in time. So make sure you pick a preschool close to your home if you plan to go back home after drop off or near downtown or shops so you can at least run some errands while your little one is in school. For those of you with full time jobs, look for a program that has extended day and will allow you to pick up late. Otherwise, there are many daycare programs that have built-in preschool curriculums so that is a good option for you too.
Tip: Check out our Preschool and Daycare finder. You can search for preschools within a few miles from your house.
Are you going to private or public school
There are some preschools that primarily feed into private schools. Other preschools feed into local neighborhood public elementary schools. During your preschool tour, find out where most kids end up. You may want to send your child to the preschool that feeds into your elementary school so that your child will already have friends even before he/she starts Kindergarten.
Choose the Right Preschool program
Are you looking for specific preschool programs? Montessori-based program? Language immersion program? Faith-based program?
Tip: Check out our Preschool and Daycare finder and filter your search based on the programs you want.
Preschools with Extended Day
You will quickly realize how short preschool programs are. Sometimes they are too short to actually have a productive morning running errands. If that is the case, you should definitely choose a preschool with extended days. In some preschools, your child can stay for lunch or some actually extend the day past lunch to 2:45/3pm pickup. Other preschools partner with local programs and will bring your child to the extended day program at preschool dismissal.
Tip: You can filter your search to preschools with extended day in our Preschool and Daycare finder.
Afternoon versus Morning Sessions
Due to afternoon nap schedules, morning sessions are usually more popular and will fill up more quickly then afternoon sessions. However, as a new family, you are usually last in the enrollment priority so you may not get a spot in the morning session. With my daughter, I did not get my first choice and was stuck with an afternoon session. I actually ended up liking the afternoon session and kept her in the afternoon the following year. I find it less hectic because you can leisurely take your time in the morning, have lunch then go to school. There is less of a rush in the morning to get out the door.
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