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- Mrs. Margaret Mascarenhas

When you feel your child is ready for preschool, you need to find a good one. Start your search early. After you have decided on the schools - apply to all of them. Apply to more than one to have a backup.

To find the best program for your child follow the following steps :

Is it safe, clean and registered ?
Quality varies considerably from nursery to nursery. It may take time to find out what's right for your child. Find out if safety precautions are taken like, are the outlets covered, toys age appropriate, Is the ventilation facility good. Is it licensed or registered - if not why is it so ? Are the bathrooms and kitchens well maintained with high hygienic and safety standards.

Cost of a preschool could be especially high with all extras added in - Be sure there are no hidden costs.

Teacher - Child ratio
Find out how many children to a teacher. Ideally 1 member staff to 4 children is good. The child would get sufficient attention. The teacher should have good teaching credentials. Ideally teachers should be trained in early child development and education

Is it spacious?
There should be enough space - There should be enough light, good level of activity. Enough supply of play are as - sandpits, pools, swings, etc. The toys should be age appropriate.

Food and Nutrition Policy
Do children eat food brought from home or prepared at school. Is it nutritious.

Toiletting Policy
Is it necessary for a child to be toilet trained. Will the staff help in the process

Evaluate the programme
There should be no pressure to perform academically. A good programme is mostly free play, interwoven and non-competitive group activities such as sing song, story telling, etc. The programme right for your child will depend on your child's personality

A good programme will stimulate the child creatively, intellectually, physically and socially

Observe the programme yourself
Visit the place and judge for yourself when visiting watch how teachers handle despite crying, boredom and behaviour problems

Do kids look happy. Are the teachers cheerful when a child isn't occupied. Does a teacher notice and try to draw the child into the activity.

Look for a preschool where the goal of disciplining is to help children learn self control rather than force them to bow to authority.

Check References
Positive word of mouth is a powerful endorsement. Ask parents with children presently in the nursery. Ask what they like about the programme and what they don't.


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