“Given the importance of play, and balancing that with the need to prepare my child for realities/expectations of kindergarten, how do I go about choosing the best preschool for my child? What kinds of questions should I
ask, and what should I be looking as I tour various preschools?”
This is a fantastic question and one that is often discussed between myself and close friends, many who happen to be therapists and teachers. To start, I’d jot down what is important to you for your child’s preschool experience. That looks different for each person. My own personal philosophy – I’d look for a preschool that focused on teaching and providing opportunities to expand your child’s social emotional skills (interacting with
others, resolving conflicts, joining play, expressing their thoughts/feelings, etc.). I’d ask how they go about developing these skills for children. I understand the push for academics. However, it’s the area I’m least interested in when it comes to a preschool environment. Children learn through play and to learn means they have to play. So many academic concepts (letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.) can be naturally embedded into play (shapes of food, counting the Lego pieces as they build, etc.). When you observe the classroom, you’ll see the teacher and the assistants in the classroom. When you walk in, pay attention to where they are and what they are doing. If they are sitting on the floor (or in a chair close to the floor), then you know they focus on playing with your child and/or providing those “teachable moments.” I reached out to a few people in education that I have the utmost respect for and who have spent a considerable amount of time in the classroom and each of them provided great insight. For the remainder of the week, I’m going to focus on this topic and share
some of their thoughts/responses.
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist