8 Important factors to be considered when selecting a Preschool in Sri Lanka

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Being a working mother of a two year old kid living in the city like Colombo, I spent nearly one month in finding out the most appropriate preschool for my little one. Preschool is the most important element in a kid’s life in respect of his/her intellectual and physical development as they are stepping into a new environment freshly from their nest. Thus, having the concerns of giving her the protective and stimulating environment, I had to balance with my income and feasibility.

In the first look it may appear easy to select a preschool by simply comparing the cost, location and operating hours. However, when I personally get involved into the process – having read research articles, preschool guidance and having visited several preschools in Colombo – I was surprised to know that apart from the usual concerns, there are other important things we must look into. At the end, it was a time consuming and effortful task to choose the preschool which best suited my child. I think, it would be useful to share the essential facts need to be considered when selecting a preschool with you all especially the young parents living in Sri Lanka.

Define Your Requirement in a Preschool

Kids are unique in their genetic makeup and so as their learning needs. Before going through the preschool search, define your own list of prerequisite of a preschool which you think ideal for your kid.

The Teaching Staffs

Kids will spend most of their day time at preschool, especially with the teaching staffs. Therefore it is important to consider the following:

  • What is the students to teacher ratio? Researches suggests, it is good to have a ratio of 4 – 6: 1 for 2 to 3 year old toddlers.
  • Have the teachers had the adequate preschool teaching training & first-aid training?
  • Are they caring and friendly with children?
  • How frequently the staff are changed? (If the same teacher follows throughout the year, it would be easier for children to adopt and learn)
  • What is the disciplinary policy they practice? (i.e.- How teachers handle a strong willed child, punishment methods etc)

Classroom – Environment & Safety

Classroom should be clean, comfortable enough with A/C or good ventilation. Also important to make sure the physical environment is safe enough. When you visit a preschool observe the furniture – are they comfortable enough? is the floor carpeted/made non slippery by some other means, protected stair cases, are the equipment like paints and toys are hazard free and nontoxic?

Classroom – Peer Group

Another aspect to look in the classroom is how the children are divided? Are they of same age group? Same age group classes provide better opportunity to learn.

Learning takes place in the interaction between the individual and the environment. Image Courtesy: theamericanpreschool.com

You might wish to ask about the other children’s nationality, language used in pre-school and the policy on cultural and religious event. Having a multicultural environment in classroom gives the opportunity to learn not only new languages but also introduces various cultures among kids by celebrating vast range of cultural events.

Curriculum

We send our kids to preschools not only to learn the language and numbers but also to learn manners, social norms and socialize with others. So the curriculum should include indoor and outdoor activities. The weight of each purpose may differ from a child to child. So, asking about the curriculum and its components will help you to choose the most appropriate one for your kid.

Fees and Cancellation Policy

It is good to ask about the fees in detail. There are different types of fee structures available in preschools of Colombo city. Some charges a refundable deposit on admission in addition to admission fee. Monthly payment of term fee is accepted in some preschool and some offer discount if you pay the term fee in advance. There are online payment facility as well in some preschools.

Also, don’t forget to ask about additional charges which includes equipment, uniform and special event expenses. I found that few preschools with low admission fee, but having additional charges in the form of equipment fee, annual fee (in addition to term/monthly fee). So thoroughly inquire about the fees and charges in detail.

Communication

As parents, we are comfortable if we could maintain a good relationship with teachers. Some preschool have the facilities -like Whatsapp/Viber messaging, online social platform -where they share the updates and activity photos daily. This might help in assuring your mind when you are at office after hurrying the child at Montessori in the morning.

After School Day Care Facility

Bonds begin at preschool playground. Good playground creates a healthy and strong bonding! Image Courtesy: motherspridepreschool.com

Sometimes you might want your child to be at the preschool until you pick in the evening. Ask about not only the day-care facilities but also the schedule for the extra hours. Some preschools have dance/music classes after the routine hours. If you think your kid is interested in one of those, it is worth looking into those extra activities they offer.

These are the facts to consider, but how to asses them on this criteria? The best way is to make a visit during the school hours and to get feedback from other parents for a referral. Hope this article helps you to organize yourself to find a suitable preschool for your little one and if you have discussion ideas in this topic, please share with me, in the comment section.

Mayoorathy Sachchithananthan

Wife, Mother and Doctor. She loves music, travelling and helping people. Keen to explore by-her-own to find-out the best options in life.

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