Preschools...this has to be one of the hardest first decisions. It's the decision that made me feel like a REAL mom. The responsibility was on me to find the very best place to start the education of my twins. No pressure, right?
Well, the decisions get harder as the days go by but as I'm finding out, there are many great preschools out there and it's hard to make a "bad" decision. We are blessed to have many great options here in Columbus and surrounding suburbs.
What to look for in a preschool:
1. Religious based or secular based: Are you looking for a private school that is going to offer a religious base for your child? Many churches offer wonder schooling that also has a Bible class or some type of prayer time. Not all schools that are located within churches are have a Christian basis though so you'll have to ask some questions. For secular based schools, look to community centers, athletic clubs and day care centers.
2. Days/Times: This one is important. Of course the most important purpose of preschool is for your child to be prepared both socially and intellectually for Kindergarten but there are perks for the mom too. It may be the first time you get to the grocery store BY YOURSELF since the twins were born. Oh the luxuries, right? Well, you want to make sure you have enough time to drop the twins off, get to the grocery, drop off groceries at home, and get back to pick up the twins. Not an easy feat! I prefer schools that offer 3 to 3.5 hour programs for this very reason.
3. Location: For 2 years I chose to drive to a different suburb for a good preschool. In the end it was worth it but not in all cases. Consider the location of the school and what surrounds it. Is there a grocery close by? Or maybe you can use that time to hit the athletic club. Consider these as the "best" school may not always be worth a 20 minute drive.
3. Friends: It's always nice to pick a school where your child will know a few children. Even more preferable is to place your child(ren) in a class with kids with whom they will attend elementary school. More mom perks: You'll have a friend to get coffee with on the off chance you don't have a million errands to run. =)
4. Referrals: If you don't know anyone who is currently using your preschool of choice, ask for referrals. Do some research and find out how the school is licensed and how many kids to expect in each class.
There are so many other important issues and this is not an exhaustive list. If you have advice for fellow members (or questions!) feel free to leave a comment below.