You know they say there comes a point in your life where all of a sudden you realise that you used to be young and stupid? Well, I seem to come to that realisation very often.
I have recently realised, for the third or fourth time, that there are certain things that need to be handled with patience, and a level head. Thought through properly, and then thought through again… You see, I am a rather happy-go-lucky type of person by nature. I tend to be looking at the positives rather than the negatives…and while this is a very ‘nice’ quality to have, it can sometimes turn around and bite you in the bazonkas. 🙂
Today I went nursery school hunting…. and it’s actually not the first time. Our daughter did go to about 9 days of nursery school 4 months ago. 9 days out of a total of 5 weeks (non-stop illness, pink-eye, flu etc,) before I decided ‘No,’…
I don’t know if there was anything wrong with the school… I hadn’t actually asked enough questions. I liked the school, and so we signed her up. Maybe she was still just a little young, but the whole experience left me with an enormous amount of self doubt, and guilt. So now that we are looking at enrolling her again, I am determined to have all the information about everything before we make our decision. I think that is the only way that I am going to be able to be at peace while she’s at school.
So, the question then is, what do we need to do? How do I go about choosing the best nursery school for my little one?
1.Well, to start with, surely this is at least as important as hiring someone for a job… they are going to have the job of looking after your child! Interview them the same way you would interview a potential employee, not the other way around…they are not doing you any favours…
2.Find out about the school’s educational philosophy – you want your child to be in an environment where they are encouraged to discover things for themselves, especially at such a young age, not in a place where they just drill things into your child.
3.What training do the staff have? And feel free to ask to see credentials. If the school is hesitant to provide details, you have the right to be suspicious. Remember, a good nursery school should have staff that are trained in first aid, such as CPR and the Heimlich manoeuvre – accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and these things can mean the difference between life and death.
4. What type of play opportunities do the children have? Does the school offer activities that help your child develop their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their social interaction and intellectual capabilities? All of these aspects are equally important, and choosing nursery school that allows sufficient time for each type of activity will help your child progress at the right pace, and lay the foundation for a healthy future later on.
5.Do the children nap? If you have chosen a full day schedule for your child, be sure to find out about the nap schedule. A tired child is an unhappy (and an unhealthy) child.
6.Are meals provided? Be sure to enquire about this! Check about any allergens that your child may have, and also mention to the school if your child is going through a particular ‘phase’. Judge their reaction. If they take it in their stride, it’s a good sign, if they say something like ‘ oh no, that’s no good, we’ll sort that out in no time…’ watch out… I’d say, let those decisions be up to you, the school should try and ‘come up with a plan, especially if your child is still quote ‘little’.
7.Is potty training required? Generally when the children are under the age of three, it is understood that nappies are quite normal. Enquire about the hygiene policies too – are gloves used? Are the changing stations wiped down with antibacterial spray? Measures like this can help prevent the unfortunate transfer of ‘nasties’, like pink eye. Just to be safe, enquire about the policy on spare clothes…do you send an extra pair every day or do you send one that gets stored in a locker at school?
8.What happens if someone misbehaves? This covers you from the get-go, so that you know that your child will be disciplined in a loving and respectful matter, but at the same time, this opens the door for you to explain to your child that the teacher must be treated with respect.
9.Do some research online. A little digging can can provide you with priceless information. Licencing agencies hold all the records of any complaints or licence violations and will give you the details if you request them, but a reputable school should have no problem giving you references if you ask for them.
In the end, we can only do the best for our kids as we see the best to be in the moment… and tomorrow we are probably going to wake up again and realise how young and stupid we were yesterday….hmmm….. life!
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