There will come a time in your child’s life when they take the first steps to untether from you. The preschool year brings such mixed feelings to any parent. While you want them to be independent, you also want them to stay young forever.
The choice of an early childhood learning centre is crucial. You want to equip your child with the necessary skills that will serve them well later in life.
As such, you want the centre must achieve the following:
- Spark a love for learning that extends beyond the four corners of the classroom
- Stimulate their natural imagination and creativity
- Boost their level of concentration
- Build a strong foundation, particularly on their literacy and numeracy skills
- Develop their social skills through confidence-building activities
- Ensure personal development
- Encourage your kids to be more curious, observant, and intuitive
- Equip them with the necessary skills to articulate themselves
- Develop emotional quotient and intelligence quotient
- More importantly, amplify the bond between the parent and child
Here are some tips you can follow before enrolling your kid in an early childhood learning centre:
1. Find a centre that can enhance photographic memory skills — Only a small percentage, or about 2-10%, of young kids have an eidetic memory. But you have to admit that this skill will help them navigate life easier. Just imagine how much time your kid can spend developing their social skills when they are not glued to their books. With a photographic memory, they can memorise and retain a large amount of information in a short span. Adding this to your list of criteria will narrow down your choices to a few centres.
2. Parent participation is encouraged — In traditional classrooms, the parents are not allowed to be there with the kids, supposedly to develop independence. However, parent participation is extremely important in developing highly confident and motivated kids. Cognitive development typically occurs during the preschool years, and they need all the support they can get, not just from their teachers but their parents, as well. A research study by Pennsylvania State University arrived at the same conclusion as it established a connection between parental involvement during the preschool years will improve outcomes. Another benefit is that the parent can provide input and work with the teacher to help the child better.
3. Tour the facilities — Make two visits, one you do alone or with your partner, and the second time, you bring your child with you. The first visit will allow you to assess the facilities objectively and without distractions. Prepare your list of questions beforehand so that you do not forget anything. Schedule your trip during classes so you can see for yourself how children interact with their teachers and visitors. If the early childhood learning centre serves meals, make sure you are comfortable with their menu. On your second visit, bring your child to gauge their reaction. It would be more difficult for them to learn when they are not comfortable in their environment.
4. Reputation and track record — Experience counts for a lot when it comes to choosing a school. Do not be swayed by their sweet words, and instead, ask directly for references. Ask other parents about their experiences in dealing with their school. But do not only focus on the success stories. Take care to listen to the grievances, as well, to make an informed decision.
It might seem a lot when you dissect each item individually. But the best learning centres out there can definitely meet the criteria above and more.