For many good quality pre-schools, January is not too early to begin registering students for the following year. If you intend to send your child to pre-school next September, or are just thinking about it, the time to look into pre-schools starts now. Don’t wait for the rush in spring.
Good pre-schools limit class size, and many give preference to siblings of children already enrolled. If the pre-school is sponsored by a church, synagogue, or community center, preference may be given to members of the sponsoring organization.
Call the schools you are interested in, and ask about visiting and registration. Some will allow visitors to meet with the director and have a tour; others will have open house events. Ask about class size, teacher qualifications, how children are grouped – by age, developmental ability, and so on. How does the school work with children who are still wearing diapers? How are children disciplined? How do parents become involved? A good pre-school has policies for all these questions in writing, and teachers and director are happy to discuss them.
Look for a school that offers a balance of activities. A good pre-school gives children a regularly scheduled physical exercise or recess time, a free play time with a choice of games, toys, books, and manipulatives for creative play, as well as arts and crafts, a circle time for music and stories, and teacher directed activities to promote learning abcs and 123s. Although they are messy, there should be opportunities for sand and water play, indoors if necessary. And finger painting is always a favorite!
Pre-school is a great start for children, socially and academically. Find a good one, and enjoy this golden time!