Fall: Call for information and brochures; observe schools in which you're interested.
Winter/early spring: Apply to preschool(s); the school may ask your child to spend a morning there.
Late spring: Decide which school your child should attend; if needed, plan another visit.
Summer: If possible, point out the preschool to your child, and play at the playground.
3 Things You Don't Want to See
- Artwork on display that looks too finished or that has a cookie-cutter sameness. This could indicate that the finished product is more important than the kids' creative process.
- A program that has kids in a large group for long periods, or has everyone doing the same thing for too long. Preschoolers need a mix of large-group, small-group, and independent playtime.
- Kids that seem too excited by your presence. This may be a sign that the program isn't engaging them enough.
How Much Preschool Is Enough?
You may worry that your child will fall behind if she doesn't get the "right" amount of preschool. But a few mornings a week is fine, especially for younger preschoolers. Sociable 4-year-olds may enjoy the routine of going to school five mornings a week, but they don't need to go to school every day to thrive in kindergarten.