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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Berryhill-Castaneda

How to Pick a Preschool That Delights Your Whole Family: The Ultimate Guide

A step-by-step guide on what to look for when choosing your child’s preschool and why it is important to be finicky.

Preschool might be a sore subject for you. It's hard to keep a level head between influencers posting their perfectly manicured stay-at-home-mom lives and the news bombarding us with negative daycare stories. The good news is that decades of research have repeatedly shown that a quality preschool education improves social skills, academic achievement, and even health, especially for disadvantaged children.


These days, 65% of families have both parents working. This means preschools typically have a mile-long waitlist and an overworked office staff just trying to stay afloat. You can spend months on a waitlist, go back and forth with questions in email, fill out a 40-page enrollment packet, and then decide after the first week that it’s really not the best fit for your kid. What a headache! Luckily, Cherished Child Coworking Preschool has put together this handbook so you can choose the best preschool for your family the first time.

Big Picture Things to Consider When Choosing a Preschool

These are usually the first criteria that come to mind when a family picks a new preschool or daycare.  

Preschool Pricing for Every Budget

If you ask parents about their main concern for daycare, many of them will jump to answer, “price!” This is especially true for families with multiple children needing full-time daycare.


It’s no secret that the cost of childcare is a stressor for many families. Between enrollment fees, monthly tuition, and material costs, some families even decide it makes more sense for one parent not to join the workforce at all. Who can blame them when it feels like they’re breaking even just to drive to a job?

Some pricing factors to consider when selecting a new preschool:

  • Does this preschool accept state financial assistance?

  • Do they have pricing tiers for siblings?

  • Do they offer credit for sick days or vacations?

  • Is their pricing flexible/dependent on care actually provided?

A Preschool Schedule That Works For You

Another pain point with preschools can be the schedule. It can be frustrating when you only need three days of care but the preschool only offers full time (five days) or part time (two days) schedules. Also, many parents having inconsistent work schedules. What happens when you work Monday through Wednesday one week and then Tuesday through Friday the following week?

Some scheduling factors to consider when selecting a new preschool:

  • Do you have to stick with a specific schedule?

  • Does the schedule fit with your work times?

Matching Preschool and Parenting Styles

Now that parenting styles are all the rage, you want to ensure your child will receive the same type of care when apart from you. The four most recognized parenting styles are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and neglectful (stay tuned for more blogs covering these in depth). Maybe your parenting style is more authoritarian so you’ll want a preschool with rigid structure, or maybe you lean more towards authoritative and want your child to have some freedom to explore. These should all be taken into account when searching for your ideal preschool.  

Smaller Details That Still Matter

Center Questions

It’s no secret that happy and qualified employees do better work. This is even true with childcare. You want to ask questions that can speak to the employees’ mindset when caring for your children. You also want to make sure your child will have time and opportunity to bond with the people who will care for them.

Conflict Resolution

Learning conflict resolution is a crucial part of child development at this age.

Environment

This may seem like an obvious topic, but there are many questions in this category that often get overlooked.

Health and Safety

You want your child to be safe, but it’s also important to know what happens in the event an accident does happen. Lets face it, these are children we’re talking about.

Preschool Tour Checklist

Here is a comprehensive list of all the questions to ask on your next preschool tour. Click here to add a tour of Cherished Child Coworking Preschool to your schedule!


Category

Question

Notes

Completed

Center

Is the staff CPR certified?



What is the turnover rate of staff?



What level of involvement is expected from parents?



Does the center offer any additional amenities?



How is parent communication handled?



What is the student-to-teacher ratio?



How do you handle staff conflicts?



How are different cultures celebrated?



Conflict Resolution

What happens in a moment of unwanted behavior?



How do you handle biting/hitting?



Do you utilize time-outs?



Is there forced sharing?



Are children forced to apologize?



Environment

How much outside time is offered?



Is there help with potty training?



How is a bathroom accident handled?



Do they have a required nap time?



Are meals provided?



How long is meal time?



Do you offer free play and structured time?



Do you follow a curriculum or are you play-based?



What needs to be sent with my child each day?



What does a typical day look like?



Are children forced to participate?



What is the policy on screen time?



Will you apply sunscreen for outside time?



Are rewards and punishments used as motivators?



Health and Safety

What are your vaccination policies?



What are your Covid protocols?



What is considered a fever?



What are your alergy restrictions?



Can parents stay on the premises?



How is pickup handled?



Is anyone on staff CPR certified?



What are your emergency protocols?



What is your protocol on medications?



Pricing

What is the monthly tuition?



Do you offer daily rates?



Do you offer refunds for sick days/vacation?



Does tuition ever change mid year?



Schedule

What schedules are available?



Am I locked in to one specific schedule?



What holidays do you close?




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