Selecting A Preschool: Part One

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Mary Hogan is a preschool teacher at St. Mary’s School in Ballston Spa.  She’s sharing some knowledge on preschool shopping with us.  You can contact the school to schedule a visit at 885-7300, or visit their website for more information.
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Hopefully I can help and provide a little insight into this world of ‘Preschool Shopping’.  I went through the process over 12 years ago with my daughter, who was a February birthday, and found a wide variety of options available, but not exactly what I was searching for.  Therefore, I opened my own preschool to address the needs I felt many parents had….and am now teaching all the half-day programs at St Mary’s School in Ballston Spa.  I love what I do, and believe that if children enjoy coming to school….everything else will fall into place!

First of all, chronological age is a guideline, but rarely the determining factor for making the decision to send your child to a preschool program.  My daughter would have been ready at 2 1/2, but no programs would accept her since she was not 3 before December 1st.

To help determine your child’s readiness, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is my child interested in interacting with others?
  • Does he/she have a natural curiosity for learning and seem to need another setting, other than home, for a few hours a week?
  • Am I ready to let my child go, even though there may be tears at the onset?
  • Would a structured/organized learning environment help my child further develop the skills he/she will need upon entering kindergarten?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, it may be time to explore preschool options.

Another thing to consider is what type of program am I looking for?  There are several options out there, some that are centered on play, academically based, or a combination of both.

There are different types of facilities too; modern facilities that are bright and cheerful, church basements, learning centers, even daycare centers.  Every child is different, as are his/her needs, so it’s important to consider the needs of your child before making a decision.
-Mary Hogan
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Touring a facility during a school day in my opinion is the best way to get a sense of the school.  Open houses are great to start, but any program you are seriously considering deserves a second look when school is in session.  

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