October through January is the busiest time of year for parents seeking admission at all grade levels from preschool through college at independent and public schools. In those hectic months, parents try to identify schools, visit them, apply and get interviewed. That’s a lot of ground to cover in four months and it misses one crucial beginning step. A good part of choosing the right school relies on knowing what matters to your child and your family.
This is most true in searching for a preschool. As children blossom and change rapidly in early years, still growing to articulate and convey their needs, parents rely on what they want for their child’s preschool years. In years to come, school choice grows to be a collaborative process that includes the child’s voice. But, at preschool, it is mostly about what parents think is right and want. A big part of the preschool choice process begins with parents’ own educational experience, family values, logistical needs, demand for specific care situations, hopes of nurturing skills in those crucial early years.
It is hard to reflect on these foundational questions while also identifying schools and visiting them. As schools offer overwhelming amounts of information, it is easy for parents to choose what they want based on what they see at a specific school. It’s like buying an apple because that is what you see at the store, without thinking about whether you even want a fruit. While matching parent’s hopes and expectations to what a school offers is an important step in the process, it needs to come after parents have had a chance and have taken the time to reflect on what they want outside of what a specific school has to offer. More importantly it is crucial for parents to gather fundamental information about what children need in preschool years and the types of preschools that exist. This needs to happen before they identify specific preschools to visit.
As admission to leading preschools in the area begins in October the best time to begin this reflective, self-education process is in spring, before the bustle of summer starts when schools close and before parents know it, it is time to dive into the admission process. The PEPS and GROW Parenting sponsored Choosing the Right Preschool workshop offers parents a unique, timely opportunity to learn about what children most need in preschool, types of preschools and ways in which parents can begin to ask themselves what they most want for their young ones and themselves.
Register today so you can enjoy the process of choosing the right preschool and land your child is just the right spot.