When it came to my first kid I was in the dark about preschool. I had NO idea preschools could be difficult to get into and how many different choices there were out there. Most preschools have registration a whole 6 months before the first day of class…and some preschools have wait lists that can take not just months but YEARS!
Now that my second child is three and ready to learn in a structured setting I am still no preschool connoisseur, but at least I hope to have made enough headway to give other moms insight on what would work best for their family. Here's how to prepare your child for preschool:
- Montessori schools are very hands-on. They are based on the idea that children are individual learners and teachers guide the students through learning rather than direct them. The basis for play is to create a very open-ended environment to let the children learn at their own pace. Children are also encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and their belongings as well as help other students with tasks and learning.
- Waldorf schools like to follow dependable routines in a comforting environment. Many Waldorf schools are like a home away from home for their students because the atmosphere is supposed to represent a warm and homey experience. Children learn through creative learning with an emphasis on everyday skills such as cooking, gardening, singing, etc.
- *Cooperative – There are Waldorf schools (and also some other preschools) that have a Co-op option. This means that the parents help out both in the classroom and outside of the classroom (publicity, outreach, etc.). Co-op parents usually get a discount on tuition.
- Religious preschools based out of churches can follow any preschool philosophy and usually simply include teaching religion within that chosen philosophy. If you want to go the religious route, but are also interested in a particular preschool philosophy you may be able to find both wrapped in a pretty package in a neighborhood church.
- Forest School - have you ever heard of Free Forest School? My kids and I only just discovered this in November (not the best month to discover outdoor learning) and we love it! There are many chapters around the U.S. and some outings are even sponsored by companies like L.L. Bean. The whole gist is to get children out in nature with their peers and let them learn and discover together in the wilderness. It is a great concept, and did I mention it’s free?
- Language Immersion - Providing your children with the opportunity to learn a second language is a great gift. The easiest way to do this is by starting them young. There are language immersion preschools for Spanish, Chinese, German… you name it! Many language immersion curriculums will have the children do part of the day in the language the students are hoping to learn and then teach the same content in English. Some immersion schools only teach and speak the foreign language in the classroom.
Although these are some of the more popular preschool methods there are even more out there, so do your research to find what you think is right for your student and the rest of your family. Also do your research on how to prepare your child for preschool, since it's their first time being in a structured learning environment.
If you have an almost preschooler that you have yet to enroll for the Fall term, don’t fret! There are so many options out there and many other supplemental outlets to get your young student learning and socializing with their peers. Happy learning!
Our Birch Bag Mini makes the perfect bag to store all the essentials for your little one's day at preschool!
Easy Preschool Accessory: Our Bow Clips are a simple way to keep your little's hair out of her face at preschool.