What to Look For When Choosing a Preschool, Kindergarten or Childcare Facility

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What do most parents look for when they are choosing a school for their child?  

What questions should you ask?


I recently visited a Primrose School in Algonquin Illinois and it brought back memories of when we were choosing a preschool and kindergarten for Rosie.  She is now in first-grade and we feel comfortable that we made a good choice for her.  Where do you even begin?

To find out about options in your area, start online.  If your community has a website, that is an excellent place to start.  The website GreatSchools.org can help search by city and state or address.  Google “schools in yourcity, state” and “childcare in yourcity, state”.  Visit the school websites and read about your options.  Next, talk to your friends, neighbors, library, or other local resources.  Ask about schools and reputations.  Narrow down your choices and then call them to schedule a visit.  There is no substitute for touring a facility and talking to the staff.

Are the classrooms bright, clean, and organized?

The number one factor that parents look for in choosing a school or child care facility is safety.  Here are some things to look for and questions to ask when you are looking at options!

  • What are the screening/hiring practices for staff?
  • Are staff certified in first aid?
  • Is there an effective emergency (fire, weather, etc.) plan?
  • Is the physical campus safe?  What are the maintenance policies for rooms and equipment?
  • Are there security policies in place for restricting access to the school?
  • What are the cleaning practices?
  • Does the school meet all state licensing requirements?
  • What are the student to teacher ratios?
  • What are the discipline policies?

Is there a balance of play, exploration, and teacher-directed learning?

After parents are comfortable with safety issues, the next priority is learning.  Consider your child and their personality and/or special needs when evaluating the responses to questions like these:
  • Is the school accredited?  By whom?
  • What are the educational/training requirements for staff?
  • What are the curriculum standards and philosophy?
  • Does the curriculum reflect current child development practices and prepare children for the transition into elementary school?  
  • How is play integrated into the learning process?
  • How does the curriculum address character development?
  • Ask to see the daily schedule.  What is a typical day like?
Once your satisfied with the safety and learning for your child, you also want to consider how the school partners with parents.  A parent’s job is not finished once you have selected a school.  You are an integral part of your child’s education and you will not only need to monitor how the school is doing, you will have to cooperate and participate in your child’s learning experience.
  • Is there homework?  How much?  How often?
  • What is the communication like between the school and parents?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • Are parents welcome to visit the school?
  • Are there special events for parents and grandparents?
  • Is there a newsletter?  What is the means of communication (email, postal, phone)?
Although there are excellent one-location schools, one of the things I was most excited about when touring Primrose School, was that there was a national organization behind the Algonquin (and every other) Primrose School.  Primrose has extensive resources that are not necessarily available to one-location schools.  They have a staff dedicated to designing and evaluating their curriculum.  They have standardized best practices for school safety and cleanliness.  Keeping your child safe, comfortable and happy is their first priority and they have experts to ensure that they are doing everything possible to achieve that goal.  Because of their expert hiring procedures, they ensure that your child has qualified, caring teachers.  
I encourage you to visit the Primrose School website and read about them before you visit any school.  You will find examples of the kind of answers you would like to hear!
Choosing a school is important – it can make the difference in whether your child loves learning.  Being prepared for entering elementary school can give your child confidence and passion about learning.
All the pictures in this post were taken at the Primrose School of Algonquin, to learn more about it, visit www. PrimroseAlgonquin.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  My daughter and I were given a tour and music lesson at the Primrose School in Algonquin.  This post is also an entry in a contest at BSM Media.



  1. 1

    Thank you for entrusting me with Rosie during your visit.

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