Questions to Ask when Visiting Preschools
Keep in mind that this is just a supportive list, and may not cover all the topics that you will be interested in. Make sure to ask the questions that are important to you and your child, and are most likely to affect the probability that your child will thrive in this setting.
  1. What is the school's philosophy?
    • Child/Play-Centered
    • Teacher-Directed/Academic
    • Cooperative
    • Montessori
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Waldorf

  2. What is the learning style?
    • Developmentally-based: learning at the child's pace, also referred to as indirect learning
    • Academic-based: stresses direct academic learning
    • Many schools will have a blend of both

  3. What is the teacher-student ratio?
    • For two and three-year-olds, NAEYC recommends at least two teachers for every 10 to 14 children. For four and five-year-olds, NAEYC recommends two teachers for every 15 to 20 children.
    • In general, a lower ratio means each child will receive more individual attention.

  4. How does this program measure academic growth and/or kindergarten readiness?

  5. How are the classrooms set up?
    • Multi-age classrooms
    • Single-age classrooms

  6. Are the daily activities well balanced?
    • Ask for a copy of a typical daily schedule

  7. Is there an opportunity for growth in all developing areas? Ask about each one.
    • Intelligence
    • Language
    • Social skills
    • Gross motor skills
    • Fine motor skills

  8. Is there a food program/menu?
    • Do I need to provide my child's food or will it be served?
    • Is the food balanced and nutritious?
    • Will I be informed of what and how much my child eats?
    • What if my child is allergic or just doesn't like the food? Will he be given any alternatives?

  9. Is it required that my child be potty trained?
    • If not, will the staff help with potty training?
    • How is potty training achieved?

  10. What is this school's discipline policy?
    • What will happen if my child pushes/hits/bites another child?
    • What if another child pushes/hits/bites my child?
    • Do teachers help children to work out their differences?
    • Are children taught ways to solve their problems without violence?
    • Are children taught to talk things out with other children they may have disagreements with?

  11. Are naps required?
    • If so, what is the procedure?
    • Where do the children sleep?
    • What do they sleep on?

  12. What about classroom transitions?
    • What is the transition procedure?
    • How does the staff help a child move to a new classroom?
    • How often do children make classroom transitions?

  13. What is the staff's background?
    • What are the education/experience requirements for staff?
    • Do staff workers have a background clearance?
    • Are there incentives and/or requirements for teachers to take continuing education classes?
    • How does the school handle substitute teachers?
    • What is the turnover rate for teachers? This is important to know because constantly having to adapt to new teachers can be hard on children and detrimental to their growth.

  14. What about tuition and placement?
    • Is there a waiting list?
    • What is the fee schedule?
    • Is there a deposit fee?

  15. What kinds of policies does the center have?
    • What happens when a child is injured or sick?
    • Is the parent always notified if an incident occurs? Are there written forms to document the incident?
    • How often do injuries occur (major and minor)?

  16. What is the policy for releasing children?
    • What if I am late to pick up my child? Are there late fees?
    • How are children released at the end of the day? Are they permitted to leave with anyone who comes to pick them up?
    • Many centers require prior approval from the parents and proper identification for someone else to pick up their children.

  17. Is there an open door policy for parents?
    • Can I stop by anytime to see how things are going?

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