Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by The Dunham School.
3 Questions to Ask When Searching for a Preschool
It happens gradually.
The rattles turn to toys.
The bottles turn to forks and spoons.
The potty-training charts turn to chore charts.
Before we know it, the diaper bags turn to backpacks, and we’re sending our little ones off to school wondering where the last few years went.
As the mother of a four-year-old daughter, I just walked this path.
Is my child ready? Am I ready?
How will she adjust? Did we choose the right school?
If this was/is you, please hear me when I say: You are normal.
Working in school admissions, I watch families every day come to our office in hopes of finding the right fit for their children’s education.
As parents, our days are filled with making choices for our children–big and small. Choosing a school falls into the “big” category. And, preschool is a milestone–for your child and for you.
So, how do you choose? What steps do you take to prepare in order to make the best preschool decision for your child, and ultimately for your family?
There are many things to consider when choosing a preschool such as affordability, location, length of school day, number of grades offered–just to name a few. But, here are three important questions to ask yourself as well.
How many students are in each class?
When a school commits to a small class size, it commits to an individualized approach to education. It commits to cultivating an environment where your child is seen and known by their teachers. There is intention and purpose behind this design.
It was important for me to know that my daughter would grow and thrive in an environment where she was not just a number. At The Dunham School, my daughter’s teacher is able to meet her where she is academically, spiritually, emotionally and creatively.
How will my child be taught?
A combination of curricula, teaching methods, professional development, school values, and faculty combine to shape each school’s unique learning environment. “Our PreK3-4th grade program is the perfect balance of classical education, combined with technology, innovation, and cross-cultural literacy,” states Deedra LaPlace, Head of Lower School at Dunham. “In our bright, open spaces children are encouraged to problem-solve, take risks and be creative as they learn and grow in all areas.”
Our kids spend a significant portion of their days in the classroom; therefore, the teaching methods used and learning environments provided play an important part in their developmental success as well as their mental, social, and emotional health.
Does the school align with our family values?
Every family has values that they hold to, whether rooted in faith, family traditions, or beliefs. Even at (or maybe I should say especially at) three and four years old, our children are impressionable and soak in more than we realize. So, ask yourself what matters to you and your family.
Is it important for them to attend a faith-based school with sound biblical teaching? Do you desire to see diversity and culture in your child’s school? Are you looking for a variety of enrichment opportunities to extend their learning and expand their world?
Oftentimes you can scroll through the homepage of a school’s website to gain insight into its mission and values. On Dunham’s homepage, you’ll see “Educating the Mind and Heart for Christ” in the top banner. You’ll see “enable our students to meet their God-given potential” and “expert teachers who treasure each child as the individual he or she was created to be.” With a Christian education being our desire, we knew that Dunham was the right place for our family.
At the end of the day, you love your child and want the best for them, which is why choosing a school can be so daunting. Knowing what questions to ask and what to look for can help ease the stress and aid in the decision-making process.
Would you like to learn more about The Dunham School? Schedule a campus visit, register for Open House on October 21 or visit the website.
Ashley D’Aubin is the Associate Admissions Officer at The Dunham School and a proud alumna as well. After graduating from Dunham in 2010, Ashley attended Louisiana State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the Manship School of Mass Communication. She married her high school sweetheart, Joel, who is also a Dunham alumnus, and they have three children: Charlotte (4), Micah and Andrew (seven-month-old twins).