Preschool education has been pegged as a foundation to successful education and even success in adult life. But not all preschools are created equal, not even the most expensive ones.
Clean and secure location
It is crucial that even on the way to school they feel secure. No health and safety hazards should be anywhere near the school. A good preschool should not only attend to the mental well-being of a child but also his or her physical well-being.
Complete and safe facilities
There are basic facilities kids need round the clock and facilities that are required to keep the school kid-friendly and hazard-free. Simply put, a preschool must have a toilet room, a sanitary area for eating, a separate area for trash, a clinic or medicine cabinet, a no-slip flooring and cabinets for toys and other materials. Furniture and any equipment must have no sharp edges. Electric outlets must have covers and anything else that pose harm to kids should be kept out of their reach and eyesight.
A preschool should have an atmosphere welcoming to young children. It should not seem boring, rigorous or threatening. Positive and colorful images and designs should be visible for kids. Staff and teachers should be helpful, friendly and accommodating. Kids must be able to see that they are going to have fun in class and that the school is a place where they can both play and learn.
Trained and caring teachers
A serious endeavor into preschool education must be accompanied with willingness to invest in teacher training or re-training. If kids are taught the wrong things in preschool, it defeats the entire purpose of the program. Preschool teachers must know how to motivate kids through games, and how to manage a class of young children. They must be caring and nurturing, and should never resort to coercion or physical punishment.
Low teacher-student ratio
Preschool education cannot achieve its goal if it is of low quality, and a factor in quality is the teacher-student ratio. Sometimes, having teacher aides or assistants also helps in managing a large class. Young learners need a lot of supervision and personal interaction.
Holistic approach and curriculum
Preschool cannot be too focused on academic subjects. It must also address the development of social skills to prepare kids for a bigger group or class. As early as preschool, good qualities and values like self-confidence and love of country can already be introduced. Creativity and self-expression should also be a priority in the curriculum, keeping kids motivated and interested in schooling.
Play area and materials
There should be an area or time for play. Aside from the usual toys, blocks should be available. These help develop spatial and problem-solving skills as well as creativity. Play can also come in the form of art (children love to draw). The school should never run out of paper, crayons and clay.
A good preschool is not afraid to get physical. Kids must have the opportunity-everyday-to move about and play, whether indoors or outdoors. This helps them practice their motor and other physical skills.