Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article by Cara Guyot, Co-Founder and CEO of Cubby Coach.
1) You select the first school you get into and do not think about location or philosophy.
Take the time to think about the logistics of your day, how the timing of the preschool fits into your life, and whether there are any preschool philosophies that you can not agree with for the two to four year duration.
2) Your child has outgrown the program.
A preschool that works well for your small two year old, may not be ideal for your rambunctious four year old. Children can outgrow preschool programs and need more space to run round, more friends to kick a ball with, a larger social group, or more stimulation. It’s hard to know when they are one and you are looking at schools, but it’s a good thing to think about if moving preschools would be hard on you or your child.
3) You do not agree with the way the school handles comfort and discipline.
Ask the teachers and directors how they handle discipline. You do not want any mid year surprises or resentment because you did not know the policy when your child is put on time out, or sent home or even expelled for ‘bad’ behavior. Some schools have hard rules about acceptable behavior while others have behavioral plans that get put in motion.
4) This is the third teacher who has left this year.
Ask about teacher turnover rates. A certain amount of turnover is natural with young teachers starting families, moving towns, or older teachers retiring after forty years with the school. Turnover can also be a sign of the school not meeting the needs of the teachers or not being a great place to work. So ask upfront as it is a good indication of job satisfaction.
5) You just can’t afford the preschool.
Evaluate your budget for the duration of the preschool, think about second or third children who may overlap. Ask about additional costs beyond tuition as well as fundraising expectations. Preschools can cost from about $250 a month for a co-op where you work in the school one day a week per child to over $1,500 a month. It adds up quick if not well budgeted for.
Cara Guyot is the Cubby Coach, a preschool consultant for Marin and San Francisco, helping families navigate preschools that best match their needs. Learn more at her upcoming seminar Choosing the Right Preschool for Your Child on January 15, 2015 at Parents Place, San Rafael.