FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Good Questions to Ask
When Visiting a Preschool
Most of us are familiar with the basic questions we should ask when considering a preschool, such as child-to-teacher ratios, teacher qualifications and staff turnover.
Here are a few other things to consider when visiting a preschool. There are no right or wrong answers, just information a parent should have.
Do any other groups or persons not involved with the preschool use the facility during preschool hours?
This is particularly important if the preschool is housed in a shared space such as a church or community center.
If I need to reach the Director or transmit a message to my child's teacher during school hours, can I expect a person to pick up the phone or do you use voice mail?
Some preschools may direct incoming calls to voicemail for some or all of the preschool day.
How many staff maintain current CPR and First Aid certification?
The state of Massachusetts only requires two staff members to maintain current CPR and First Aid certification. Do not assume every staff member is current with their certification.
Who provides classroom coverage if a teacher misses school due to illness?
How and when will I be notified if first aid is used on my child during the preschool day?
If openings become available during the school year, can new children enroll?
Some preschools offer on-going enrollment if space allows, others will close enrollment early in the school year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My child will start school in September. What can I do now to prepare her?
A. Here are a few suggestions that may or may not apply to your child:
Phase out the "Sippy Cup". We use regular cups at school so you may want to give your child some practice holding and using a normal cup. Your child should also be able to feed himself by preschool age.
If you don't already, please remind your child to "catch" coughs and sneezes in his elbow. This is a much more effective way of limiting the spread of germs than the old "cover your mouth with your hands" method (just think of all those places little preschool hands touch!). We appreciate your efforts in this regard.
Think beyond the basics of toilet training to help your child reach "bathroom independence". This means managing his own clothing and personal hygiene, including wiping one's own bottom! Introduce and reinforce these skills at home and help your child be successful by simplifying her clothes. Buckles, overalls and buttons are tricky for small fingers.
Help your child use language to her full capacity. Small children and parents often develop "short cuts" when communicating (pointing, frowning, grunting, etc). Encourage your child to express himself in full sentences even when he is upset. This will help the teachers understand his needs better and give your child confidence in the classroom.
Work on self-help skills. Even small children can do a variety of personal tasks: hanging their coat on a hook, putting toys away, throwing away their own trash. Of course, they will need your guidance and encouragement to stay on task but in doing so, you are helping your child develop valuable classroom skills.
As summer comes to a close, begin a bedtime routine which includes talking about the next day's plan and laying out everything you need for the next morning. Involve your child in this process. A smooth, unrushed morning gets your child off to a great school day.
Visit the school and spend a little time in the play yard. The building will probably be closed but just seeing it will make school feel a little more "real" to your child and she may even meet future classmates in the play yard.
Q. My child will be starting soon and is not yet toilet trained: what should I do?
A. We only ask that you make a good faith effort to toilet train your child. The summer months are an ideal time to let your child go diaperless and get a better sense of of how her "plumbing" works.
If your 3 year-old is not completely trained by September, please inform the teachers and we will work with you to keep the potty training moving forward.
If your child is trained but has the occasional accident at school, it is no big deal. The teacher or director will clean and change him and provide fresh clothing (although some children are reluctant to wear strange clothes so you may want to send along a change in his backpack).
If your child is using the toilet reliably, don't forget to help him become independent with wiping as he will be expected to carry out this important but often overlooked aspect of toilet training himself.
Q. I anticipate that my child will cry when she is left at school. How is this situation handled?
A. It is always difficult to leave a crying child behind, particularly at the beginning of the school year when we are all still getting to know each other.
However, it has been our experience that the best approach is to give your child a reassuring hug, tell him that he will have a good day and then hand him off to a teacher.
Your child will receive one-on-one comforting and attention until he has calmed down.
By leaving the classroom, you show your child that you have confidence that he can meet this challenge.
You also give his teachers the opportunity to see how he reacts to his new environment and to respond appropriately to his needs.
Once you have left the school, you are encouraged to call us to get a status update on your child.
If you do not hear from us, you can safely assume that your child has calmed down and is engaged.
If her crying persists for more than 15 minutes, we will contact you and together decide how to proceed. It has been our experience that this method is the most effective in acclimating young children to school.
Occasionally a child may present with more difficulties and in that case we will work with you to tailor an approach to meet her specific needs.