This post on finding the right preschool for your child is sponsored by KinderCare. As usual, all opinions are my own.
As a mom of three, I’m amazed by how fast kids grow especially within the first three years of their life. The baby is now almost eight months old, and she’s curious about her environment; crawling all over and using her motor skills more and more every day. A few days ago, she was playing with her siblings, and while watching them, I had a flashback of my experience looking for a preschool for my oldest. I started looking just about the time she was the baby’s age, and I wish I had the KinderCare Super Simple Guide then, it would have saved me a lot of heartache. I learned the hard way instead, that finding the right preschool for your child can be tough but with patience is possible.
I started by taking tours of childcare centers in my area with my husband, some of them we hated the minute we stepped in, others we didn’t like their policies, facilities or the way the teachers answered our questions. I started with those closest to our home, and as I crossed those off my list, I moved further along my commute route to make it easier for drop-off. I didn’t know much at the time, but I knew that I wanted a preschool that focused on learning through play, was clean, with teachers I felt comfortable leaving my baby with. After about seven tours, I found one that fit most of the things on our list and enrolled her.
I worried so much I must have called almost every hour the first day, we made it through the first week, but as soon as I started to feel a bit more relaxed, she began to get sick regularly. During drop-off, I would ask questions that I felt were vaguely answered, and I started to feel bothered by the fact that she didn’t seem to be encouraged to express herself creatively because the teachers apparently did all of her art that she brought home. A few months in I discovered that she was getting sick because they were giving her food she was allergic to. I felt so disheartened and scared that I took her out and had to take time off work to care for her and find a new preschool for her.
As a parent, my instinct is to protect, so I started the process over again with even more clarity over what type of center I was looking for. I asked in a mommy group, and a few moms made a recommendation of a preschool that while close to train hub would add about 10 -15 minutes to my commute. I wasn’t thrilled about adding time to my commute, but everything about this preschool turned out to be a good fit when I took the tour.
It was clean, modern, all of the teachers were passionate and listened attentively to my concerns even bending down to address my daughter (a telling sign of a good preschool teacher according to KinderCare), and it was National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) accredited. There were systems in place for children with food allergies, the kids went out to play often, there were books everywhere within the kids reach, and I didn’t have to worry about her coming home with her teacher’s artwork because they encouraged the kids to express the world the way they saw it visually. We loved everything about this preschool from the day she started to her very last day. She was always happy to go, and they even started her potty training for me since I was a scared first-time mom. Sending her to this preschool meant that I was able to leave her every morning and not feel guilty.
By the time my son came around, I knew what I wanted in a preschool, and the process was much easier. When I met his first teacher, I knew she would understand his personality, and she did. She surpassed my expectations.
As I embark on this journey a third time, I’m confident about what’s most important for my child — an environment that’s created with her needs in mind, nurturing teachers and getting her ready for kindergarten. There are so many things about KinderCare that makes them an excellent fit for her. I love the convenience of their locations throughout New York City, their focus on open-ended art which allows creative expression which I know helps kids feel empowered and builds their self-esteem and their emphasis on hiring teachers who genuinely care about nurturing children in their formative years.
If you’re looking for the right preschool for your child, don’t be afraid to take as many tours as you need to make your decision. Bring your questions with you, take note of the teachers and how they respond to your child, how your child responds to the environment and consider if the location would be practical. You can use the KinderCare Super Simple Guide to help find the right preschool here.
How did you go about finding the right preschool for your child?