View Full Version : How the heck do I find a good preschool?

10-16-2006, 01:35 PM
Any BTDT advice besides calling all the names in the phonebook? I have some referrals form friends that I will check out and I have been on the NAEYC website. I just feel so lost and overwhelmed. If it matters I am looking for a full day MWF program and it seems kind of hard to find.


Mama to Brendan, aka Boomer, my little peanut who is allergic to peanuts! 01/16/04


10-16-2006, 03:04 PM
Ooh, a full day for a 2.5 year old is tough...though are you looking for a 3yo program? You may have better luck with that though I can't think of many preschools that do a full day program for 3 year olds. I can think of ones that are affiliated with day care programs. You may have narrowed your search already so your market may not be too big if that full day MWF is a firm criteria. My ds' 3yo program was T, H, F with an option to stay all day T and H but not Friday.

I personally just took all referals and visited every school that sounded good. I got pretty good at weeding out schools quickly.

One of my keys was to find out about their potty training philosophy. When I was in college I took an early childhood development class taught by the director of the university's childcare/ preschool facility. She said that schools should not require potty training by X day. She said that schools that require that may not be practicing a "developmentally appropriate" philosophy. She said that the school should respect the individual needs of a child and not assume that all kids can be ready to be pt'ed by a certain age. So, that automatically weeded out a chunk of schools. The ones that were left were all very good and talked at length about supporting the individual child and were developementally oriented. (This wound up being a very good thing for me to look for b/c my ds was very stubborn. He pt'ed 2 months before he turned 4. He did it in one day- when he was ready. I am so glad that there was no pressure to rush him. I tried that and it was a nightmare.)

I also wanted a school that was "play based" I believe that kids learn best through play. So, one school was out when they said they had their 3 year olds start the day with a worksheet. I didn't see any benefit to that.

I really just wanted a school that would work with my son and didn't want him to fit into a mold. I wanted them to nurture what he had to offer and help him learn to get along well with others and be enthusiastic about learning.

There were some great choices for us and our budget. There were schools located at a large university where kids would take daily field trips to the campus and surronding parks and museums. There was one that had a swimming pool and computer lab. We wound up choosing a pretty simple one because it just felt like a good fit for us.

I think the guidelines are good from the NAEYC but you just have to get out there, take tours and collect info.

If I think of more I'll let you know. I was pretty into choosing a preschool 2 years ago and did a lot of research. :)


10-16-2006, 03:13 PM
I have been wondering that myself. I am planning to go to a preschool fair sponsored by the local MOMS club. I saw the ad in one of the free parenting newspapers at the pediatrician's office.

Good Luck,

10-16-2006, 03:17 PM
Oh, and I wanted a school where I felt welcome and involved. I went to some that really didn't ecnourage me to stay. The one we chose has a parents' lounge to hang out in. They also let parents stay the first days/ weeks until your child is comfortable with you leaving.

I also like that they are very flexible with arrivals in the AM. The director's philosophy is that for the rest of their school career you have to be on time. Enjoy the early years. Drop off begins at 8:30 but it isn't uncommon for people to roll in at 9:15. Free play is from 9-10:30 so they don't miss much by being late.

Security was a factor. One of the programs was at a large community center. The kids played in the gym some of the day if the weather was bad outside. Well, there were other people around too and it always worried me that if a teacher wasn't paying attention someone could walk off with a kid. I one time walked the track above th gym while my ds was with the gym's babysitters and saw him get pushed by an older kid. I went down to intervene since the sitters missed it. I could have been anyone. The rest of their facility had tight security for the kids but this worried me (and I am not a big worrier :)).

Where he is now isn't as tight security wise but there is not a lot of extra foot traffic beyond staff and families. I just don't worry there.

It's great to find a school that has indoor and outdorr play areas. Even better if they take the kids out on every possible day (barring temps too low or hazardous conditions). Fresh air does them good. :)

Thought of more to add...
Discipline. How do they discipline? Why do they discipline? Our school has 3 rules: 1. children may not hurt themselves; 2. children may not hurt other children or adults; 3. children may not destory materials or the environment. They try to set up situations where there are not a lot of "no's." ALso they try not to have unreasonable expectaions- they know that 2 and 3 year olds are still learning to share and stuff like that.

They are most into talking things through with th kids as means of discipline rather than time outs. Those are reserved for when it is obvious the kid just needs some cooling off. Now, my friends' 3yo started a program recently and they are very tough. She said that her son was in time out for 15 minutes (at once!) the other day. An it didn't sound like he had really done anything major that deserved such a big punishment.


10-16-2006, 04:17 PM
Beth gave a lot of great advice. IMO the only way to find a good preschool is to visit them, ask lots of questions, and see how the teachers and kids interact. Around here, some local parent support groups sponsor an annual preschool fair where a lot of schools hand out pamphlets and answer questions. Preschool is so competitive where I live that someone's even written a book listing a lot of the schools in the area. It's a different world out here, parents sign their kids up for waitlists during infancy. Then there are the slackers like me who wait until their child is 18 months and it's almost too late.

If preschool events like that aren't available in your area, you have the right idea by going through word of mouth. I found out about some preschools by chatting with moms at the playground and moms I met at preschool tours. I would even ask moms whose children were well beyond the preschool years to find out where their kids went to school, just to get a feel for the schools out there. "Good" is a relative term, and it's going to mean something different to every family. I wanted a play-based preschool, so someone who wants a preschool with a curriculum that's going have formal lessons on numbers and letters would not say that DD is in a good school. The right school is one that fits your child's personality, and the only way to find that is to get out there and visit them. It's a stressful process, and that's crazy because this is ONLY preschool!

Good luck in your search!

11-12-2011, 08:27 AM
We found the preschool for DS, DD1 and DD2 by asking the private elementary school where we wanted to send our kids for recommendations. We have absolutely loved the preschool for all 3 kids. It is a play based program with music, a great playground and warm loving teachers.

I agree that it may be difficult to find a full day MWF preschool for a 2 or 3 year old outside of a daycare type setting. Are you certain this is what you want/need?

11-12-2011, 08:28 AM
Holy moly, this is an old thread!

11-12-2011, 08:32 AM
Holy moly, this is an old thread!

You are right! Wish I would have caught that! The OP's child is probably in 2nd or 3rd grade by now!

11-12-2011, 09:14 AM
But your posts didn't go to waste. I picked up some good tips. Thank you