Disclaimer: Alamo City Moms Blog is excited to partner with Little Sunshine’s Playhouse to bring you information about their early childhood development program through this sponsored post.
It’s a cliché, but time flies. Even though it feels like you just brought your bundle of joy home from the hospital, you blink and it’s time to start thinking about preschools. There are so many options for early childhood education, it’s easy to get information overload when researching the right fit for your family. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help guide your decision-making process:
1. How do I know if an early childhood education program will benefit my child?
Research has shown that preschool helps a child develop vital age-appropriate social, physical, emotional, and cognitive skills, setting up him/her for future academic and life success. Look for a well-rounded program that suits your family’s needs and includes a balanced and varied curriculum. Local preschool Little Sunshine’s Playhouse (LSP) utilizes a “Creatively Shine” program, in which teachers have the freedom to adapt lessons to meet the needs and interests of their class. The program includes fine and gross motor skill activities, outdoor learning opportunities, fresh content that rotates with the seasons, and more. Don’t be afraid to schedule a tour, talk to the staff and school leadership, and ask what they do to help set your child up for success.
2. What educational philosophy aligns with my child’s needs?
If you didn’t study early childhood education in a collegiate environment, “education philosophy” may sound stuffy and maybe even a bit silly! But the truth is, you probably do align with a particular philosophy, as do your kids’ personalities. You might recognize more mainstream terms like “Montessori” or “classical education,” but a great school will also explain in plain English its philosophy on early childhood education.
Little Sunshine’s Playhouse uses a Reggio-Emilio style curriculum that sees children as active participants in the learning process. It is open-ended, flexible, and supports curiosity as well as child-led learning. Classrooms and outdoor spaces are well thought out to support a variety of learning styles, and learning centers (including science, math, manipulative, housekeeping, kitchen, gross motor, quiet [reading], and writing areas) are integrated into both spaces.
3. Does the “meat and potatoes” of the program seem like a good fit?
When thinking about the best early childhood education environment for your child, consider whether it’s a good fit for your family as well. Start with websites and social media for basic research and then schedule an appointment to visit the schools that seem like a good fit for you. Here are some questions you might ask:
- How does morning drop-off work? At LSP, for example, teachers meet children at the car to facilitate a quick transition to the school day. (Who doesn’t want to stay in their car for drop-off?!)
- What is the communication style like? Will you receive daily updates on your child?
- How much time do children spend outdoors? What supplemental or extracurricular activities are offered? For example, LSP offers a wide variety of supplemental activities to meet your child’s interests.
- Are lunch and snacks provided?
- How long is the average teacher employed with the school?
- What certifications or continuing education opportunities are provided or required?
- What safety measures are in place?
- How is quality of teaching and environment supported by the director?
Little Sunshine’s Playhouse has consistent routines in place, which sets up both parents and children for success. The school takes great care in hiring and retaining dedicated teaching staff and fully commits to facilitating a positive relationship between you, your child’s teacher, and your child. Finding a great program can be overwhelming, but when you have a starting point to jump off from, it’s easier to weed through your options and make an investment in your kiddo’s future educational success.