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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Checklist to Select The Right Pre-school Providers

Choosing a quality child-care provider is one of the most important decisions parents make. Research shows that high-quality child-care and early education can boost children's learning and social skills when they enter school. Does your child care center or early childhood education center offer a comprehensive program that suited to your child's stage of growth and help the child develop mentally, physically, socially and emotionally?

Looking for a child care or preschool providers that's right for your child can be an overwhelming experience. To make your search a little easier, and to ensure that the program you select will help your child grow and develop their brain to full potential, here are observation steps during the visit to the child care center/preschool provider and the checklist to help you to identify the necessary components provided by them.

Your visit to several child-care centers/preschool providers is a crucial part of your selection process. What you observe during your visit will tell you many things about them:

  • Take along checklist (find at the section below) and question to ask during your visit to the provider.

  • Take notes on your observations and on answers given to your questions by the teachers and/or directors.

  • These notes will be helpful in determining further questions and to differentiate between the providers you have observed.

  • Allow plenty of time to tour the entire facility, both indoor and outdoor spaces.

  • Schedule an initial visit by yourself, and then bring your child with you during your second visit if possible.

  • Make sure to observe the group that your child would attend. Do you hear the sounds of happy children?

  • Be sure that all your questions and concerns are addressed so that you can feel confident about the care your child will receive.

  • Ask to meet all of the staff that will care for your child during the day. When you interview them, you'll want to find out about their training and experience and their attitude toward child rearing, guidance and discipline.

As you visit various child-care center or preschool providers, simply evaluate each program to the following checklist:

  1. Does the program offer a variety of art and musical selections suited to the ages of all children in care?

  2. Does the program offer a rich selection of children's literature?

  3. Are the children read to each day and encourage to express themselves through words and language?

  4. Does the program have the right materials and equipment on hand to help children to learn and grow mentally and physically?

  5. Do teachers receive special training on how to implement curriculum and programs so that each child has the right opportunity to reach his or her full potential?

  6. Are there on-going career growth opportunities for teachers?

  7. Do teachers feel good about the job and really like children? Do they show affection and appear to be patient?

  8. Is a complete curriculum, including lesson plans, books, educational materials and music, provided to the teachers?

  9. Are the educational toys and materials appropriate for the age of the child?

  10. Are activities designed to stimulate all of you child's senses and encourage children to think things through?

  11. Do teachers encourage children to express themselves in creative ways?

  12. Are children in small enough groups within the center so that children appear to be given sufficient attention rather than lost in a crowd?

  13. Does the program offer you opportunities for parent participation and communication to help guiding your child's education?

  14. Does the parent receive written and verbal communication from the teacher about the progress of their child?

  15. Are literature and facts on brain development research and ways to continue to enhance brain development at home available for parents?

You can rate each of them with a score of 3 for yes, 2 for somewhat and 1 for no. Center that scoring the highest point will be the preferred choice. Remember, these are just some checklist to make your selection more systematic. How do you and your child feel about the center is equally important. Above all, trust your own judgment and feeling about a center as you know your child best and only you can tell which center will be the best for him/her. Good luck in your search!

Do you want to find the best early childhood education for your child? Then, you must take a look at Reggio Emilia approach!


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