As a parent, you have many decisions to make each day about your child’s growth and development. You think about what they eat, how much they sleep, and who they spend their time with. One of the most important decisions you will make as apparent is whether to send your child to preschool– and where.
Your child’s early education matters. Your child’s early childhood education can help them build a strong foundation of knowledge and confidence that will serve them well during kindergarten and beyond.
But how can you be sure that the early childhood education center you choose is the best one for your child’s needs? This guide will give you the information you need to make this critical decision. Reach out to the New Horizons Learning Center team now to learn more about our early childhood education center in Port Richey or to schedule a tour of our incredible center.
Finding the Best Early Childhood Education Center
If you are the parent of a young child, you know that kids this age are full of excitement, energy, and curiosity. Young children are capable of learning new concepts and developing skills that can help them succeed in kindergarten and throughout elementary school.
But, finding a high-quality, nurturing ECE center is essential. Here is a guide on how to find the best early childhood education program for your child.
1. Do your homework
Search for local early childhood education centers and preschools in your area. Look for centers in convenient locations–those close to home or work, or those easily accessible by car or public transportation.
Once you find a basic list of options, dig in a little deeper. Read online reviews, scour the centers’ websites for information about their programs and staff, and talk to other parents about their experiences. Consider whether the center offers the programs your child needs, their operating hours, and other practical matters.
Finally, narrow down the list into a set of several options that may meet your needs.
2. Schedule a visit
Reach out to the staff at each center and ask to schedule a visit. This process can tell you a lot about an early childhood education center. If visits are restricted to only certain times, they offer you a visit that is days or weeks away, or you are not welcome to bring your child, you may want to reconsider these centers.
Generally, staff should be very welcoming to visitors. You should be allowed to see classrooms, meet staff members, and bring your child when you come. A warm, welcoming environment is essential in a preschool setting–and visiting is the best way to get a sense of how the center works.
3. Bring your child
Have your child accompany you on visits to early learning centers. While young children may sometimes feel shy or uncertain in new situations, letting your child spend time in the center can help them transition into a program there later on.
While visiting each center, observe how the staff interacts with your child. Pay attention to whether your child feels comfortable in the environment or is interested in the toys and activities. Seeing your child in the environment can help you make the best decision.
An early childhood education center should be a warm, welcoming place with caring educators and developmentally appropriate learning. Watch the staff members interact with the children during your visits. Are they engaged, patient, and supportive? Do the children look content, and are they comfortable interacting with their teachers?
Pay attention to the classroom environment. Are there child-sized furniture and age-appropriate toys and books? Is the center clean and well-maintained? Look for a thoughtfully designed classroom, including separate areas for eating, toileting, and playing.
5. Ask questions
During your visit–and anytime afterward–ask the staff any questions on your mind. If you’re not sure what to ask, you could consider these questions:
- Is the center licensed?
- What type of training and education does your staff receive?
- How do staff members handle discipline?
- What curriculum do teachers use?
- Do children follow a daily schedule?
- What is the staff-to-child ratio?
A good early childhood education center should happily answer these and other questions you have during the tour and throughout the application process. Parents need to trust that their children will be safe and nurtured so that they can feel confident in their choices.
Find an Early Childhood Education Center in Port Richey
If you are the parent or guardian of a young child and you are exploring your early learning options, consider New Horizons Learning Center. At New Horizons, we offer several enriching early childhood education programs in a warm, nurturing environment.
We know how important the earliest years of a child’s life are, and we are committed to providing the best early childhood programs in Port Richey. Contact us today to learn more about our programs or to schedule a visit to our incredible center. We look forward to meeting you and your child.