Parenting is full of decisions. Each day, you make many choices that may seem small at the moment but add up to a childhood. While many choices may seem small, some stand out in importance. One of the most significant choices you’ll make as a parent? Deciding where to send your child to preschool.
Choosing a preschool can be a daunting task. There are so many choices, and making such an important decision may feel overwhelming. The benefits of preschool are clear: better school readiness, less anxiety in Kindergarten and beyond, fewer behavioral problems in school, and more self-esteem and independence.
But how can you make such an important decision? Choosing the best preschool program in Palm Harbor doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We’ve put together this guide of factors to consider when choosing a preschool to help you make this important decision.
If you or someone in your life is searching for the best preschool program in Palm Harbor, reach out to our dedicated educators at New Horizons Country Day School now. We can answer your questions, tell you about our incredible programs, and help you set up a visit. We look forward to meeting you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Palm Harbor Preschool Program
Research shows that high-quality preschool programs can improve kids’ school performance for years to come. Great preschool programs provide nurturing, enrichment, and educational activities that help kids thrive during the pre-K years. They give kids an ideal foundation of self-confidence and school readiness skills that benefit them during the transition into kindergarten and beyond.
But what makes a great preschool program so beneficial? There are many factors to consider when choosing the best preschool program for your child. Here are some of the most important things to look for when searching for a preschool in Palm Harbor.
1. Educated teachers
Preschool is different from daycare. While daycare primarily focuses on keeping kids safe and entertained while their parents are away, preschool programs should focus on getting kids ready to succeed in kindergarten.
Teachers in a preschool program should have formal, post-high school training that helps them understand preschool-aged children’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
2. A positive, enriching environment
Early childhood education should be encouraging, positive, and enriching. The staff in a preschool are essential. Look for staff members who are warm, caring, and responsive to their students. Teachers should listen and respond to children patiently and use age-appropriate, gentle discipline only as needed.
3. Hands-on learning
Very young children are natural scientists and explorers who love using their senses to engage with their environment. Preschool lesson plans should include a lot of hands-on, interactive learning experiences. Look for a curriculum with plenty of play-based learning where children are encouraged to be active in their education. This may include:
- Acting out stories
- Sensory activities, such as playing in sand, finger painting, smelling and tasting new foods, and listening to new kinds of music
- Growing or caring for plants
- Mixing and measuring
- Cutting, gluing, coloring, painting, and other types of messy, interactive art
Research shows that kids who engage in hands-on learning retain information better than those who are passive in the classroom. The classroom should be designed to encourage active play with many enriching, exciting activities for children to explore throughout the day.
4. Focus on pre-reading, pre-math, and pre-writing skills
Preschoolers aren’t expected to be proficient readers or great writers. Learning to read, write, and do basic math takes time, patience, and a solid foundation of skills. Preschool programs can give children a headstart in reading, writing, and math by incorporating simple activities focusing on letters, numbers, and fine motor skills.
Lessons should include books, stories, songs, and activities that help children learn to recognize letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Children should also have many opportunities to develop their pincer grasp and strengthen their hand muscles by writing, coloring, building with Legos, playing with clay, and other fine motor activities.
5. Focus on social skills
A lot of a child’s success in kindergarten and elementary school comes from their ability to follow directions, maintain attention, and follow a teacher’s directions. A high-quality preschool program will provide many opportunities for children to develop empathy and other social skills that will benefit them for life.
Teachers should integrate concepts like listening, taking turns, waiting patiently, and identifying emotions into lesson plans and model these behaviors frequently in the classroom. Children should be encouraged to use these skills at school with the teacher, peers, and community.
Find the Best Preschool Program in Palm Harbor
Choosing the best preschool program in Palm Harbor shouldn’t be challenging. At New Horizons, we understand the importance of the pre-kindergarten years. We thoughtfully design our preschool programs to give kids the care and skills they’ll need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. Reach out to our admissions team now to learn about our nurturing preschool programs or to set up a tour.