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It’s preschool season. Applications are being accepted for next fall and here are some tips on things to look for. It’s been a while since I looked for preschools for my kids, but I remember the concerns that I had in my search. In today’s N&O they gave suggested advice by parents and experts of what to look for in your search of the best preschool for your child.

1. Visit the school. Get a feel for it. You are the best judge on how your child would feel in this environment.

2. Create a list with key details. Details should include: Distance, cost, teacher/student ratio, start/end times, application due date, other observations.

3. Notice their safety measures. Is the entry monitored? Updated play areas, toys, boxes etc… Are there background checks for teachers?

4. Is there a Curriculum? Look for a mix of activities, from group time to centers to individual play.

5. Check out classroom surroundings. Look at the art on the wall and other craft activities.

6. Make sure the school is clean. Check out bathrooms, hand-washing policy and how food is handled.

7. Check staffs education. All staff should have some formal early childhood training. Observe how the teacher interacts with children. Who fills in when they are sick.

8. Check out the playground areas. Safe? What do they do if it’s raining or cold?

9. Are there in special classes offered like dance, Spanish, music etc….

10. Is it affordable? Check other fees like application, late charges for picking up late and is there a discount for siblings?

11. Look into the food policies and be sure this is not a concern for your child.

12. Some schools require Potty Training before entering. What happens if there is an accident?

13. Learn about their discipline policy.

14. Again check the start and end times and nap times for children.

15. Communication. How does the school stay in touch with parents? And what is expected from you other than tuition?

Sources: N&O, parents on momscharlotte.com and trianglemom2mom; Patricia Collins, Director of Calvary child development center in Charlotte, Kelly Maxwell, researcher and associate director at the FPG child development institute at UNC Chapel Hill.

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