Did you know if you want your child to join a preschool in September you need to be on the phone and registering that January (or sooner)? Let me tell you, I did NOT know that and discovering preschools in my area were on waitlists for the school year starting in EIGHT MONTHS was quite shocking. Having worked at a daycare that also housed preschool classes I knew what I was looking for but I had no idea I was behind on looking. If you are not behind on looking but aren't sure what you're looking for, I have a list of questions you should ask on your next tour broken down into three different topics.
Questions to Ask on a Preschool Tour
There are a plethora of questions we should ask the establishment we are going to drop our children off at for an extended period of time. It is important to cover all aspects of the day starting with as soon as they walk in the door.
Preschool Tour Topic 1: Safety & Security
What are your security measures?
When you drop-off in the morning do you need to be buzzed in? Do you need to scan your fingerprint? Sign into a computer system? Present your ID?
When picking up are the same measures taken? Are more measures taken?
What happens when you need someone else to pick up your child? What does the school require? A signed waiver? A copy of that person's ID?
Before we leave our kids in the care of a facility it is important to make sure they are doing everything they can to keep our kids safe. The daycare I worked at required parents to scan their finger in order to have the door open for them, they then were required to login at a computer and check their child in/out. There was also a manned front desk that parents would need to pass in order to get to a classroom.
What safety drills do you practice?
How often do they conduct fire drills? Where do they evacuate to during a fire drill? Do they practice natural event drills; tornadoes, earthquakes? Do they practice intruder (or lockdown) drills?
Talking to a facility about the threat of an intruder may be scary to you but it is necessary. You need to know your school is prepared for the worst case scenario.
Are there cameras in the building?
Where are the cameras located? Is there one at the front entry? Are they just in the hallways? Are they in every classroom?
How can you access the footage? Is there an app that allows you to check on your child's class in real time? Does the footage self-delete after a certain amount of days?
If the "tapes" from the cameras are kept in house and self-delete after a certain amount of time it is important to know how long you have to request to see a specific day if there is ever an incident you are concerned about.
If there is an app that allows you to view your child's class in real-time who can access this app? What are the procedures of gaining access to the live-feed? Is any footage retained in house in case there is an incident?
Preschool Tour Topic 2: Qualifications & Certifications
Are you an independent facility or part of a corporation?
If they are part of a corporation they are most likely not only licensed but also accredited. Furthermore, they are most likely being given a curriculum to follow. If they are privately run, they may still be accredited though more likely not. Private preschools must still be licensed with the state but will no doubt have less check-ins than a school that has a corporate level above them.
The daycare I worked at was part of a corporation and we often had visits from higher up to make sure our facility was in tip-top-shape. Independently owned facilities will have to meet state guidelines but will not have a board of directors to adhere to.
If they are not being supplied their curriculum from above, where are they obtaining their lesson plans?
Who on your staff is CPR certified?
Ideally, for me, the answer to this question will be everyone. However that might not always be the case, at the very least I would hope one teacher in every classroom is CPR certified.
Preschool Tour Topic 3: Day to Day Activities
Do you provide a daily sheet?
Some places will have a print out that states what your child did, any special (good or bad) interactions or incidents, if lunch is had it will outline how well they ate and if nap time is offered it will say how long they slept.
Other places will send an email each day or a weekly roundup. Some places won't communicate anything at all. I was on a tour myself and the preschool told me they don't have a daily sheet as they are trying to waste less paper and when I inquired about a daily or weekly email she looked at me as if I had two heads.
This was a major turn off to me personally because this particular place was also of the mindset that they didn't need to send home any work with the children. Anything the class worked on was reusable. So how was I to know what my child did all day? If the school isn'y sending home a daily sheet or sending an email and they also aren't sending home any completed work, how am I to gauge my child's progress or know what she's learning?
What is your food policy?
If the preschool is attached to a larger daycare facility chances are they provide lunch and snack and possibly even breakfast as well. If they are just a preschool be sure to ask if they have any kind of snack time.
Some preschools do not have any snack time due to their programs being half day. If the preschool has a snack time ask if they provide snacks or if parents are expected to pack snacks. Furthermore, if snacks are allowed and are brought from home, places are frequently becoming nut-free, so be sure to ask which ingredients, if any, are not allowed on facility grounds.
How often do the kids play outside?
Again, if the preschool is attached to a larger daycare they'll have outside time built into their day as children are potentially there longer. If the preschool program is only 9 to 12 or 1 to 4 be sure to ask if they have outside play built into their schedule.
Questions to Ask on a Preschool Tour (Checklist)
Now I know this may seem like A LOT, and frankly it is. So to make it easier, I created this handy checklist for you to take with you on your next preschool tour.
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1/18/2020 04:51:12 pm
Cameras are very important to me. At anytime I can logg in to see what is happening.
1/18/2020 05:08:19 pm
definitely useful post for parents who are looking at preschools..
1/20/2020 11:10:00 am
I am atually leading tours next weekend for our preschool open house. I will keep these in mind and try to just provide the information.
1/20/2020 10:02:47 pm
This is an awesome, comprehensive list! I am loving the printable checklist too to make it simple when touring a preschool. Thanks for this!
1/21/2020 06:51:05 am
Great questions. I was mostly conerned about my daughter's safety at pre-school.
1/21/2020 03:03:02 pm
Finding a good safe preschool is so important.
1/22/2020 04:07:44 pm
This is a list I wish I'd had when I was looking at preschools for my daughter. The cameras would have been really helpful, but I'm sure technology has changed too.
1/23/2020 04:32:01 pm
Excellent checklist of questions to ask! I hadn't thought about asking about cameras!
5/4/2020 05:46:43 pm
It was really helpful when you said that they need to have outside play. In a couple of weeks, I will be starting a new job that will keep me from watching my 3-year-old daughter, so I want to find a preschool for her to go to while I'm at work. I'll make sure to keep this information in mind as I search for a preschool for my daughter to go to.
2/15/2021 03:18:59 pm
It really helped when you talked about how important it is to ask about a preschool's safety measurements when touring one. My brother thinks it's time to take her little daughter to preschool. He says it'll be a good opportunity for her to learn socializing skills, so he's looking at options for one. He's very picky about his kid, so I think this information could help him make the right choice. Thanks for the tips about what to consider when selecting a preschool for your children.
3/3/2021 09:36:43 am
It's time for my son to go to preschool, and I want to make sure that he gets taken care of right. It makes sense that I would want to take a tour of the preschool to make sure that I get the help I need.
3/8/2021 02:48:55 pm
I like your suggestion to ask about the safety drills conducted by the preschool facility. My sister-in-law wants to find a nearby daycare center for her son to attend to get the best possible start to his education. Asking your suggested questions should help her more easily identify a daycare center she feels confident about!
3/17/2021 12:43:18 pm
Thanks for the preschool tips. I want to take my daughter to a preschool. I will start looking for providers in our area.
4/9/2021 12:57:46 am
I appreciated it when you shared that it is great to choose a preschool that comes with a variety of security measures. My sister just mentioned the other day that she is thinking of sending her son to a reliable preschool since he seems ready to learn and mingle with kids around his age. I will suggest to her looking for a reliable place that offers the best security measures.
5/7/2021 02:25:50 pm
You made an excellent point that it is important for us to be aware of the qualifications and certificate of the teachers. It makes sense as in doing so, we can be certain if they are qualified to manage our kids. Since my wife will return to the office next week following months of working from home, I will definitely keep this information in mind and ask about their credentials.
5/27/2021 04:16:21 pm
Thank you for explaining the questions that need to be asked when you are on a preschool tour. My wife and I need to find a preschool for our daughter. Asking the right questions means that we will be comfortable with the preschool that we pick for our daughter.
I like that you talked about preschools that can print out and send us weekly reports regarding the behavior and development of our child. I would love that kind of service from the preschool facility since it can tell me if my son is starting to open up. He is a shy kid just like his dad that is why I want to know if he is starting to socialize with other kids every week.
7/23/2021 05:00:07 pm
Thank you for stating how it is important to ask about the safety measures that a preschool has in place when you are touring the school. My older brother and his wife need to find a preschool for my nephew to start at in the fall. I'll make sure they choose a preschool that has great security and safety measures.
10/28/2021 05:29:15 pm
Thanks for the tip to ask about safety precautions like fire drills. My daughter is about to start preschool. I want her to be safe, so I'll be sure to ask about their safety drills.
11/29/2021 06:04:16 pm
I like how you mentioned that it is very important to make sure that they will do everything they can to make sure that our kids are safe from harm and every unwanted event. My cousin mentioned to me last night she is planning to enroll my nephew in preschool and asked if I have any idea where is the best option to consider. Thanks to this informative article and I'll be sure to tell her that it will be much better if she consults a trusted preschool as they can answer all her inquiries and will provide good-quality education and memories for my nephew.
12/22/2021 02:08:13 am
It is a good point to ask the preschool facility if they have snack time and if they provide the snack or if parents are expected to pack snacks for their child. I'm planning to enroll my son in a preschool soon, and it's important for me to know if he will be able to eat properly there. Moreover, I'll use these tips to find a suitable preschool for my son.
12/29/2021 11:33:14 pm
Thanks for pointing out that some preschool education programs would not have a snack time if they are just offering half-day classes. I guess I need to check every aspect of the program that the schools near me offer and choose the one that would work best for a single parent like me. It would probably help me if I find a whole-day school that offers snacks, so my kid will be in a safe place with the right food while I am away doing errands.
It really helped when you mentioned the importance of asking questions. I have a cousin who is planning to enroll my nephew in pre k school and asked if I have any idea where the best option is to consider. Thanks to this informative article, I'll be sure to tell her that it will be much better if she consults a trusted preschool as they can answer all her inquiries and will provide good-quality education and memories for my nephew.
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