Early childhood education is crucial to children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. The early years are the most formative period of a child’s neurological growth. It is crucial to keep several things in mind when choosing a childcare centre for your child. Importantly, early childhood education instills a love for learning within your child.
So how can you find the best childcare centre? There are several types of preschools/childcare centres:
Play-based: These programs (also called "play schools") focus on the development of social skills and a love of attending school through free play and minimally structured activities.
Montessori: Montessori programs have a child-centred approach: kids get a lot of freedom to pick their own tasks and activities (with the guidance of the teacher).
Waldorf: Waldorf programs offer hands-on activities. The programs emphasize on arts and crafts, creativity, and imaginative and play-based learning.
Reggio Emilia: These programs have a co-constructed curriculum: children and teachers choose tasks and activities together. It also involves lots of open-ended projects that require critical and creative thinking.
Religious-affiliated: These programs are created and run by religious institutions or schools and are faith-based.
Now that you know the types of teaching philosophies/schools available, you need to keep several points in mind while choosing a childcare centre or preschool.
- The staff: How do the teachers interact with students? Do they update parents about the progress of the child frequently? Are they approachable, friendly, and do they provide the kind of environment you want your child to be in?
- Safety: Does the school provide a safe space for your child to play and learn in? It’s important for you to be able to trust the teachers, facilities, and the environment your child will be in, particularly when you’re not present. Do the classrooms have child-sized furniture? Is the classroom colourful with children’s artwork? Is there adequate space for children to move around? Is there video streaming? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself.
- Communication: Is there regular communication between the school and parents? Do you get individual feedback on your child? Having the reassurance that the teacher takes the time to get to know your child individually and understand his/her strengths and weaknesses can better help you aid your child’s development at home, too.
- Class Size: How large or small is the class size? What’s the student-teacher ratio? Will your child get individualized, adequate attention? It’s important to keep this in mind.
- Curriculum: Does the school provide enough time for work and play? While academic knowledge is very important, play forms a large part of the child’s growth as well. A comprehensive teaching plan with hands-on play and a variety of activities such as music, dance, outdoor play, and arts are needed for the all-around development of your child.
Academics Prekindergarten is a leading group of childcare centres in North America specializing in early childhood education. Academics PreKindergarten focuses on children's learning experiences; with an emphasis on parent communication and partnership. The school has a distinct education model; Academics Edge, which builds a foundation in math, science, reading, writing, and physical and social-emotional literacy.
Academics PreKindergarten offers programs for different age groups:
- 10 months – 2 years (infants)
- 2 – 3 years (toddlers)
- 3 – 4 years (preK2)
- 4 – 5 years (preK3)
The schools have a learning-led education model: Academics Edge, for different age groups, specific to each development stage. An environment that stimulates your child’s senses and promotes learning opportunities can greatly impact their growth. Choosing the right preschool is key.