We were running errands when one of my teenagers shouted and pointed, “Look! It’s our old preschool!” Soon my other two teens were chiming in, “I loved it there!” and “That was my favorite school. Do you remember when…” And just like that, we were walking down a memory lane of craft projects, field trips, and even that time when the teacher helped with a loose tooth that just wouldn’t budge.
It made me happy that my kids remembered their days there as fondly as I did. Finding a preschool near me may seem stressful but when you focus on the right things, you can find the perfect place for you and your kids.
Here are 7 tips to help you find a preschool your kids will remember:
1. Talk to kids. At the park, at the library, at your friend’s house. Find out what the kids loved doing on a given day or what their favorite thing is about preschool. Ask to see their latest project. Most kids will be thrilled to share their expertise. You can learn a lot from kids if you pay attention.
2. Talk to parents. See what schools they love and why. Find out if they are friends with other families there. Ask about the teachers that make it great. The most important thing is to talk to real people. Don’t rely on social media for accurate information.
3. Consider the schedule. Does the school have a schedule that works for your family? It is important that the days and hours align with your family schedule, but also with your child’s preferences. There are schools with two days a week programs and schools that meet five days a week. Some meet for two hours while others are the whole day. Think about what you and your child would benefit from.
4. Ask about educational philosophy. Every school has a unique approach. Some schools focus heavily on academics while others focus on social skills. Some schools stress nature-based learning while others focus on the arts. Don’t get caught up in what these approaches are called, but think about your child and how their interests line up with what the school offers.
5. Talk money. It is essential that the cost works for your family. Consider tuition costs as well as extras like fundraisers, field trips, and parties. Be bold about asking these questions before you choose a school so you are not stressed later about unexpected expenses. Finding a school that your family can afford will create a less stressful environment for you and your child.
6. Find out about parent involvement. Ask how much parents are expected to be involved and make sure it is something you are comfortable with. Some schools ask for parents to volunteer during the school day on a regular basis while others only invite parents for holiday and year-end programs. Extras like fundraising or events can also be a requirement. Find out what is expected so you know if you can participate at that level.
7. Ask to observe. See if there is a good time for you and your child to visit during the school day. Watching the school in action is one of the best ways to discover if it will be a good fit. Chat with some parents at drop-off or pickup. Observe the kids as they work together. All of it fits together to create the atmosphere your child will be learning in.
Finding the perfect preschool doesn’t have to be stressful. Be realistic about your family’s needs and how they match up with the school. With these simple tips, you can discover a learning environment that will be perfect for your child.
Here are 5 amazing preschools in the Lower Mainland to help narrow your list down.
Cousteau, the French International School of Vancouver
3657 Fromme Road, North Vancouver
You are looking for a unique school for your child? Cousteau School offers a bilingual education and teaches France and BC preschool curriculum, associated with an Eco-School Program, for small group size. Open to children aged 30 months and up, from all linguistic backgrounds.
Preschool spots available!
Mosaic Montessori Preschool
2268 Bayswater St. – General Gordon Outbuilding, Vancouver
A dynamic and enriched program offering a blend of traditional Montessori education and play-based learning for all preschool ages. In-house music, yoga, and science lessons. Come and see why our multi-faceted approach offers a unique environment for your child to grow and learn in.
North Star Montessori
1325 East Keith Road, North Vancouver, BC
North Star offers an authentic Montessori program from Infancy-Grade 6. Committed to meeting the developmental needs of each child, we foster a love of learning, independence, and respect. Practical experiences build confidence and inspire an intrinsic motivation to ‘learn’ and ‘do’ that students carry with them throughout their lives
Saplings Outdoor Program
Squamish, Lions Bay, Glen Eagles, Pemberton Heights (K-Gr4), Kits Beach, and after-school programs
Saplings believe that nature is a child’s best educator. We operate preschool activities with outdoor learning programs across the lower mainland including preschools, after school care, and a K-4 school. Saplings fosters a sense of wonder for the world and promotes lifelong learning through our unique approach to education.
West Point Grey Preschool
4397 W 2nd Ave, Vancouver
West Point Grey Licensed Preschool at Aberthau offers care for children 30 months to 5 years old in a learning through play environment. Uniquely located in a mansion with large outdoor space this preschool is a hidden gem on the West Side of Vancouver.