By the time your child reaches preschool age, you might be looking forward to the extra free time you will have when they aren't at home. Instead of carefully evaluating schools and analyzing potential playmates, you might sign your child up for the program closest to your home, or zero in on the cutest classroom. However, ignoring some of the more important aspects of early learning might cause trouble later. Here are two important questions to ask your child's preschool teacher, and why you might thank yourself down the road:
1: "Is the curriculum on track with the common core?"
Because your child seems young, you might assume that preschool is all about learning shapes and colors, playing with other children, and mastering the art of using a public restroom. However, one of the main goals of any preschool education should be to get your child ready for kindergarten.
Although it might seem impossible to figure out what your child would need to know to meld well in the public school system, some preschool programs abide by common core academic standards, so that your child can get a head start. These standards, adopted in 43 states and four territories, focus on academic milestones tied to reading, writing, and understanding math concepts. Here are a few reasons that a focus on the common core will help your child—even during the preschool years:
- Keeping School Interesting: You might assume that your kid would love hours of free playtime, but actually learning something in school might make the day more interesting for your kid. When your child is encouraged to learn and grow, they might enjoy school more.
- Focuses Teacher Dialogues: If you don't want your child's teacher to discuss politics, opinions, or religious beliefs that you might not agree with, look for a school that actually follows a set curriculum. By looking over lesson outlines beforehand, you might be able to choose an educational experience for your child that you feel comfortable with.
Before you fill out enrollment paperwork, ask your child's potential preschool teachers if the curriculum is on track with the common core. Ask if the goal is to meet the standards or to exceed them. By taking your child's education seriously, you might be able to make learning easier for your kid later.
2: "Which schools will students matriculate to?"
Have you ever wondered why getting admitted to prestigious private schools and ivy league universities seems so impossible? Because some upscale preschools matriculate into select elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, picking the right preschool might act as a direct pipeline into upscale institutions. In addition to potentially making or breaking your child's admission chances, finding a preschool that matriculates well might also help in these ways:
- Future Peer Group: Social networking is important, even in preschool. If you want your child to rub elbows with the best and brightest, look for a preschool where the parents take their kid's education seriously. As your child progresses through preschool, elementary school, and later high school with affluent peers, they might have the chance to make friendships that will benefit them later in life.
- Special Programs: Your choice of early learning academy might also affect whether or not your child has access to special programs in school down the road. For example, if you want to get your child into that high school with an excellent basketball program, look for a preschool that feeds students into the system.
By taking the time to think about your kid's future and to discuss the curriculum with their teachers, you might be able to help your child to live their dreams. Now that you know what to look for in a preschool, you can begin visiting preschools, such as Kid's Country Child Care & Learning Center.