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Preschool checklist

Choosing the best preschool for your child does not have to be a daunting task. These tips will guide you to find a preschool that will meet your child’s needs.

Honours diversity. Children should be encouraged to interact respectfully towards each other. By allowing them to take turns, share, collaborate with each other, follow routines and communicate their needs and thoughts, they will learn to respect and value everything that makes people different from each other.

Prioritises social and emotional development. The school environment should be responsive to children’s psychological needs. Teachers play an important role in easing children’s anxieties by coaching them to identify self-regulation opportunities, coping mechanisms and conflict-resolution strategies that contribute to their overall resilience and adaptability.

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Provides a safe haven and support structure. Consistency and established routines for children are extremely important for their overall well-being. Therefore, make sure the preschool offers a space and time to attend to your child’s physical, emotional and social needs daily. Also, having a supportive teacher who is dedicated to your children’s growth and is interested in their progress can be reassuring for any parent.

Creates time for fun. A preschool should offer a larger range and variety of stimulating and fun activities for children to explore their sensory systems and improve their skills, promote self-regulation and social relationships. By playing outside on the playground with a choice of equipment, different gross motor skills can be exercised, contributing to improved balance, coordination and physical strength.

Utilises a play-based curriculum. Play-based learning should include language and literacy, mathematics, life skills, science, art, music, sensory and character-building activities from a very young age, as these will form a firm foundation in preparation for Grade 0.

Fosters empathy, mindfulness and acknowledgement of each child’s uniqueness. Children should be comfortable to be themselves while remaining part of a larger group. They should be encouraged to be aware of other’s emotions and feelings, and be given skills to support their peers.

Encourages a growth mindset for their children and staff. As education is continually evolving, schools should reflect the 21st century skills in their curriculums. These include social, communication, self-management, research and critical thinking skills.

Keep in mind that trained professionals will be able to observe your child’s expected developmental growth. Should they identify possible difficulties or delays, they can intervene as quickly as possible. Be sure to find out what support services the preschool offers, should your child require additional support.

Details: 012-665-0244, southdownscollege.co.za

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