As a new mom, visiting pre-schools for my firstborn was an intimidating experience. I wanted to pick a school my child would love, but I also wanted to make sure that it would be a place that would set a good foundation of learning for her schooling.
I have visited perhaps a total of 7 schools in total ever since my started more structured forms of learning, and have learned a lot from the experience . While I am still a fairly new mom, here are some tips I’ve gathered from my own school hunt, as well as some I got from my fellow mama friends.
- Do your research. Most schools have websites that offer plenty of information about their founders, their history, their teaching methodology and their staff. While this is a great source of information, the best sources are parents who already have their children enrolled. Talk to friend and ask for her thoughts on the school, what her experience has been like, and if she recommends the enrollment of your child.
- Ensure that your values are aligned with your school of choice. While I believe that the formation of values must begin at home, your child will spend most of the day in school. This is why it is so important that your values align with the overall philosophy and teaching methodology of the school.
- Take the time to sit-in and observe the trial classes. It was very important for me to do a trial class for each of the schools I visited. While my daughter was happy to be in any of the classrooms we put her in, the trial classes gave me an opportunity to observe the teacher, the tools used during the session, the classroom facilities, and the overall environment of the school.
- Get to know the teacher. One thing I learned during all of my visits was that a teacher can make or break a school. A school may have an amazing background and stellar reviews, but at the end of the day, I knew my child would be spending the most time with her teachers. This is why I made it a point to pay close attention to beyond running the lessons and managing the classes–how the teacher spoke, carried herself, and corrected her students.
- Listen to your intuition. As it is with most things in life, it needs to feel right. If you are considering a school and have even an ounce of doubt, it may be best to keep looking. While no school will ever be perfect, the school that is right for your child will definitely feel right.
As a final piece of advice, in order to be able to consider all of the above, it would also be ideal to start your search ahead of time. Do not procrastinate your school hunt, and do not settle for a school you don’t feel happy about, just because you don’t have the time. 😉
Paula Cabrera is a working mom and a devoted wife. She and her husband are both lawyers who are continuously learning to embrace the joys and pains of both work and parenting. Reading and writing have always been some of her hobbies, and so, despite being busy, she finds time to do both even for just a few minutes everyday. She hopes to be able to be able to reach out to other parents through her short pieces and remind them that they are not alone in the crazy yet fulfilling world of parenting.