Each family has different priorities when they chose an early education environment for their children, and also puts different weight on those priorities. After hearing many parents wishing for a “preschool guide” or a “preschool checklist”, we’ve decided to put our years of early childhood education to use and provide one!
What makes a good preschool and what makes a good fit for your family are two different things. You won’t find things like “great staff”, “a good curriculum”, or “a safe environment” on this checklist. Those are all very important, and if you are wondering how to select a preschool, be sure to check out our 5 steps to selecting the right preschool. Questions regarding the safety and quality of the childcare center are things you will learn during your investigation; think of this list as a pre-investigation list. It is designed for you to get a better grasp on what’s important to you, individually, outside of the quality of care.
You can use this list to narrow your options down when you work through our 5 steps to selecting the right preschool.
How to use this checklist
Start with a list of preschools in your area (here is a list of the Building Kidz schools). Next, find out if they will have an opening for your child in time for your target enrollment. If they do, you can use this checklist to quickly determine if they should be on your consideration list.
Feel free to download a printable checklist of this document or you can get an editable PDF here, or just grab a pen and paper and jot down your answers! For each question, decide if the subject is a priority at all. If it is, check the box. For boxes that you check, assign a number value:
1 = Must have
2 = Strong preference for
4 = Strong Preference against
5 = showstopper
Yes, we skipped “3”. Those are the priorities you don’t check!
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Preschool Priorities Checklist
For each question, decide if the subject is a priority at all. If it is, check the box. For boxes that you check, assign a number value.
School name: _________________________ Location: ________________________________
Earliest Enrollment Date: _________
Is the preschool close to your home? Number Value: ________
Is it close to your work (or someone else’s as appropriate)? Number Value: ________
Is the location along your commute? Number Value: ________
Does the preschool offer early-morning drop-off? Number Value: ________
Does it off later-evening pick-up? Number Value: ________
Are part-time hours available? Number Value: ________
The preschool uses __________ philosophy: Number Value: ________
Does the preschool provide second-language instruction? Number Value: ________
Does the preschool fit within my budget? Number Value: ________
Do they accept subsidies? Number Value: ________
Do they provide transportation? Number Value: ________
Do they provide meals? Number Value: ________
Do they have a nursing area? Number Value: ________
Do they have a way to store breast milk? Number Value: ________
Should this school go on your list? If there are any “5”s, you have effectively eliminated this preschool as a consideration. If not, then the school is a contender! Add up the numbers, and the lower the sum the closer to the top of your list the school should be. Now you can begin scheduling school tours, starting with the lowest number value school.