Selecting the right nursery school
Selection Criteria for a Nursery School
Selecting a nursery school is a very important decision, as parents are about to entrust the care, guidance and education of their children in an environment outside of the family for the first time. It is the environment where children will spend the greatest part of their time, take their first steps in integrating themselves socially, implement everything they have learned from their family and build their skills.
What do we have to take into account in order to select the right nursery school?
Private or State?
To begin with, we need to distinguish that nursery schools can be state, municipal and private, depending on the institutional body they are accountable to for their organisation and operation. Consequently, before beginning to look for a nursery school, it would be a good idea to know that no fees are required by state nursery schools, a monthly fee is required by municipal nursery schools that varies depending on the region, whereas for private nursery schools the cost is determined by the administration
The first contact with the nursery school by phone
Initially, it is a good idea to make a list of the nursery schools located in your district. (First of all, it is important that your child’s nursery school is close to your home, so that you have easy access to it, in case there is an emergency and, second, because it is a good way for your child to make friends from the neighborhood). Then, you can contact them by telephone in order to receive information about working hours, age span accepted, the educational staff, safety, food, transportation capacity and the cost of services. On the basis of this information, you can make a decision about the nursery schools that cover your child’s needs and arrange a visit.
What to look out for during our first visit to the nursery school
- Building facilities: First of all, examine the layout of the indoor and outdoor spaces, the safety that they offer, and the cleanliness and hygiene conditions. Spaces need to be devoid of dangerous obstacles and to enhance the children’s free activity and expressive capacity. The playground should consist of toys that are appropriate for their age and in optimal condition so as to rule out the possibility of an accident. Request to see all spaces (e.g. workshop rooms, dining room, bedroom).
- Pedagogical Orientation: Talk to the administrators, in order to acquire information about the philosophy of the nursery school and learn about the teaching staff’s expertise and experience. Don’t forget to ask to see their license, because many nursery schools operate illegally. Finally, seek to know the criteria by which classes are formed and the ratio of children to teacher.
- Make sure that the educational curriculum (pedagogical material, sports and art activities, games) of the nursery school is fully in line with your child’s needs and abilities.
- What is the procedure followed in the event that the child is injured or falls ill? Check to see if the facility provides full medical aid, a pediatrician or nurse. Also, ask about the way that health issues are handled, as well as about what happens in the event that a child needs to be urgently transported to a hospital.
- Visit the kitchen where the food is prepared. If your child is experiencing difficulties with food or exhibits allergies or intolerance to certain foods, discuss that.
- Check the quality of the water that children drink. Ask to find out whether the nursery school uses a certified water filter. Unfortunately, many nursery schools don’t pay attention to the quality of the drinking water, resulting in children consuming water with chlorine, pathogens and other particles. Taking into consideration that the child during his/her stay at the nursery school daily consumes the largest percentage of its daily water intake, the water must be certified for purity, not only to protect its health, but also, for its system to absorb the multiple benefits of water. Read more...
- Ask how any difficulties faced by the children in their initial induction period during the first few days or how any extreme behaviours are handled, as well as if the nursery school has a psychologist at its disposal.
- Ask to know how communication with the parents is effected, if there are any group parental meetings or if there is a counseling programme.
Feel free to express any concern you may have and to resolve any unclear information, so as to be absolutely certain that you are making the optimal choice for your child.