We are fortunate that Dallas is filled with wonderful preschools in every neighborhood. The preschool choice is your most critical choice in schools because that’s where the foundation is laid for later learning. Research has shown that what happens in these early years will make all the difference in elementary through college.
Yikes! That puts a lot of pressure on this decision. Not to worry. There are four key things to look for and most schools do a great job with them.
- Love. The most important thing a child needs in order to learn is a loving environment. Feeling safe and feeling loved are a sort of gateway to make the rest of the brain function. So take a look at the teachers and their classrooms. Listen to how they speak to the children and ask the director about teacher longevity and retention. A school with high turnover may indicate unhappy teachers and an unhappy teacher may not be as attentive and loving one who loves her work.
- Play. Look for emphasis on play, rather than rote drilling of letters and numbers. All children learn to read and write when the time comes but they cannot replace the learning they gain from exploration and free play. Classroom essentials: dress up, centers for pretend play, an easel, picture books, plain blocks, lots of painting, play-dough and art. Again, you’re not looking for workbooks so much as you’re looking for tactile, visual and imaginative play. That has to happen in these preschool years.
- Music. And even if you’re in Kindermusik, a range of musical experiences is optimal so try to find a school with a music offering at least once a week, if not more often. We do offer Kindermusik in-school classes at several area schools–ask us!
- Space. Finally, your child will need a lot of space to move, move, move! Find out how much time is spent on the playground (free play on equipment) and how much is spent on inside movement (PE, Bodyrhythmics, etc). You need a school that offers a lot of movement opportunities and space to run. Ask what children do when it’s too hot or too cold to go outdoors? Do they still get to move (because they need it even more on these days, right?)
Research has shown that these three things: loving environment, play, music, and movement are the most critical factors in shaping the brain for success later in life.
Now that you’ve got some things to look for, please join us for “Navigating Schools in Dallas with Kindermusik” hosted by Miss Lisa.
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This post brought to you by Miss Lisa.