How do you choose an early childhood educator for your child? With so many different options and services to choose from, it can be a daunting proposition.

After all, you want what’s best for your child and a good early childhood education centre can set them up for a lifetime of learning which, in turn, could lead to a longer and happier life. It’s a lot of responsibility, then – but fear not because we’ll tell you how to find the best preschool for your child.

What to look for in a preschool

If you want to find a good early childhood centre then you’re going to want to do a bit of research. Is there a preschool in your local area? Check the Yellow Pages to see. Phone them up and organise a time for you to come in and view the organisation in action.

When you visit, pay attention to the children at the preschool – do they look happy? Talk to the parents as well as the teachers and ask a lot of questions. What hours is it open? Do they have a particular way of teaching? How much will it cost? Is there a waiting list? How effectively will they communicate with parents?

The preschool should be a happy environment. The teachers shouldn’t look stressed and harangued; the children should be happy and healthy, energetic and busy. Does the equipment appear to be in good condition? Is the building warm and clean?

Importantly, what’s the ratio of children to teachers? The best early childhood education centres will have enough preschool teachers so that good relationships can develop between them and the children they care for.

Finally, before you settle on an early education centre for your child, check online to read the latest Education Review Office report on the preschool. Most early childhood services are reviewed on average once every three years.

Start looking early

Believe it or not but some parents apply to the best early childhood centres as soon as their child is born, especially in New Zealand’s bigger cities like Auckland and Wellington. That being the case, you’re going to need to start searching for a good preschool before your child actually needs one.

The early years of a child’s life lay the foundation for life-long learning, so you’re not going to want to settle for mediocrity when you can have the best for your child.

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