While many parents in Franklin, TN, can’t wait for their children to begin school, some feel they can manage their child’s earliest education at home. Attending pre-kindergarten program reinforces those skills learned at home. Further, when little ones work with trained teachers, they learn new skills. The early education environment is also where any early learning issues are often discovered. According to Varda Epstein, an experienced pre-k teacher, when children attend a pre-kindergarten program, they have a better chance of successful school experiences in kindergarten and beyond. When you’re ready to choose your child’s early learning program, here are a few points to consider.
WHAT DOES THE CLASSROOM LOOK LIKE?
Remember when you first walked into your pre-kindergarten or kindergarten classroom? The tables and chairs were just the right size. Bookshelves displayed picture books with brightly colored illustrations on their covers. Big rugs invited you to sit and listen to the teacher. You didn’t care that the entire room was designed with your safety in mind. Your parents and your teachers cared. First impressions do count, so when you’re visiting a pre-kindergarten facility, pay attention to the environment. Would you feel safe leaving your child there? Also, are play materials available to children so that they can access them on their own during free play times? You may not remember your earliest classroom, but it made an impact on your future school experiences.
THE TEACHERS ARE HAPPY
Teachers are the most important factor to whether your child has a good early education experience. Of course, you hope they’re happy and smiling when they interact with the kids, but it goes deeper than smiles. You’re looking for great teachers. A great teacher bonds with each child. The kids in the classroom feel safe when in the teacher’s care. The best teachers understand how to engage the kids by kneeling at their level. They encourage curiosity. Great teachers help children learn how to interact with each other. They notice when a child hangs back or struggles with socialization. You may wonder which teaching philosophy a school uses, but even more important is the quality of the teachers.
WHAT ABOUT COMMUNICATION?
Is the staff easily approachable? Are they available for a quick chat when you pick up or drop off your child? Many schools use newsletters to communicate with parents and keep them posted about classroom activities. Look for a program where you receive personalized information about your child’s day or week. It’s important that you know what they ate, what they learned, and how they interacted with the other kids.
PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Another thing to consider when looking into pre-kindergarten in Franklin, TN, is how the teacher keeps track of each child’s development. They may not give formal tests, but a strong program will assess your child’s social and emotional growth. They’ll also track readiness for kindergarten. Developmental delays and health issues are often detected at the pre-kindergarten program. Noticing and identifying these issues is part of the educator’s job. If they do find concerns, they should discuss them with parents and help come up with a learning plan if needed. While these assessments are non-academic, they’re essential to the measurement of each child’s developmental milestones.
If you’re considering signing up your child for pre-k in Franklin, TN, we’d love to meet with you and answer your questions about the experience and our program. Contact THE Children’s Academy today!