With So Many Preschool Programs, How Do You Pick One?

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Most people have no idea how many preschool programs there are until they start looking for a preschool for their own children. Then, they quickly become overwhelmed by the many options and wonder how they are ever supposed to pick just one. Touring various preschools is a good way to start. Sometimes, you'll tour one and just know it feels like the right place for your kid. Most often, though, you'll do well to consider the following factors to help narrow down your options to the most desirable preschools.

Do the pickup and drop-off hours work for your schedule? 

With so many preschools to choose from, you can always start by narrowing down your options to those with convenient drop-off and pickup times. If one preschool's starting time means you can drop your child off yourself on the way to work, for example, that gives the preschool a leg up on others. If you plan to have a sitter or family member drop off and pick up your child, ask them what hours work best for them, and find preschools that operate within those hours.

Does the preschool focus on more active work or sit-down work?

Some preschools operate more like grade schools in that they have the kids spend a lot of time sitting at desks, writing, and reading. Other preschools incorporate more active, hands-on learning. Many preschools offer a blend of both approaches. Which approach is best will depend on your child. If your child is quiet and likes to spend their time writing and drawing, they may enjoy a preschool with a more school-like approach. If your child is energetic, they will likely prefer a preschool with more hands-on play.

How many days per week does the program meet?

You might assume all preschool programs hold classes 5 days a week, but this is not actually the case. Some programs have classes twice a week. Some have classes three times per week. If your child is not used to being away from you and their home, they may do best in a two-day or three-day program, at least at first. On the other hand, if they're already used to leaving you, then a 5-day program might be a good step up.

If you follow the advice above, you will have an easier time narrowing down your options and choosing a preschool program. There are lots of great programs out there. The goal is to find the one that's right for you and your child.