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6 Things to Look For in Pre-K Programs

Two lower school students smiling in class

Pre-k programs set the foundation for a child’s educational journey. As an introduction to schooling, preschool can impact a student’s learning approach through lower school and beyond.  

At St. Timothy’s School, we prioritize our youngest learners by laying a foundation for their intellectual, social-emotional, and spiritual growth. If you’re considering enrolling your child in preschool, we’ve compiled a list of things to look for in a high-quality pre-k program to set your child up for success. 

Quality Educators

Teachers set the tone for a child’s learning environment. From arranging lesson plans to exemplifying classroom behavior, quality pre-k teachers are critical to a child’s first schooling experience. 

Along with their instructional knowledge, teachers’ outlooks impact students. Calm, happy, and creative teachers foster a positive classroom environment, making students feel comfortable and excited to learn. Not to mention, enthusiastic teachers also indicate that the pre-program is thriving. 

Engaging Curriculum

An engaging and interactive curriculum motivates students to learn and participate in the classroom. Though concepts like the alphabet, counting, and shapes may seem simple, teachers can make these lessons captivating in many ways. 

A quality pre-k program balances learning and play with a combination of structured activities like crafts, songs, and stories, and less structured opportunities like centers, recesses, and imaginative play. By incorporating interactive activities, teachers create a fun and positive atmosphere for students, setting a solid foundation for their schooling experience. 

Clean Classroom Environment 

A child’s classroom environment plays an integral part in their learning experience. While a productive mess is to be expected in a busy pre-k classroom, the general space should be clean and organized. It is also important that students feel a sense of belonging and ownership of the space. Students should have their own designated spaces, like cubbies, as well as shared spaces. Student work displayed in the classroom is also a good sign of a positive classroom environment. 

In addition to organization, pre-k classrooms should also prioritize safety. Before enrolling their children, parents should ensure that all classrooms contain safety measures like age-appropriate toys without sharp features and adequate storage for potentially harmful materials like paint and cleaning supplies. 

Clear Communication

Quality pre-k programs establish clear communication among students, parents, and educators. This communication can come in many forms, from parent-teacher conferences to school newsletters. 

When choosing a pre-k program, parents should find a school where they feel comfortable asking questions. Communicative pre-k programs should offer clear and easy outlets for communication between parents and educators, as this allows parents to consistently inquire about their child’s academic progress and their school life as a whole. 

Opportunities For Independence 

While it may be difficult for parents to let go, enrolling children in preschool gives them their first opportunity for independence. High-quality pre-k programs foster open environments that allow young students to embrace autonomy for the first time. From accessible bookshelves to toddler-sized desks, pre-k classrooms supply materials that help young students step out of their comfort zones and make decisions on their own. 

Creative Materials And Lessons

The best pre-k programs branch outside of what is considered traditionally educational. Instead of supplying young learners with worksheets or flashcards, quality preschools incorporate creative materials into their curriculum. There are several ways to integrate creativity in the classroom and foster imagination, from building blocks to art projects. 

At St. Timothy’s School, our Early Childhood Program lays a strong foundation for our community’s youngest learners. With a curriculum based on independence, creativity, problem-solving, and hands-on learning, we focus on helping our students develop fundamental skills that will propel their education for years to come.