Apr 4th, 2018
Choosing the right preschool in the Westborough, MA area for your child is a huge decision. It is one that has a large impact not only on your child, but also on you as parents/guardians and even your whole family. There are so many aspects to consider when choosing a preschool in Westborough: program content/curriculum, staff impressions, facility impressions, drive-time, cost, typical schedules, hours offered versus your family’s schedule, and just how you felt when you visited, did you get a “good vibe?”
I have to be honest, when my husband and I had our first child, and thought she was ready for a little preschool, we didn’t do much homework. We went with a friend’s recommendation paired with a convenient location in the Westborough area. I toured the preschool facility, met the director and signed my little girl up for two ½ days a week. You’d think a person with a Master’s Degree in education would put a little more thought into the process, but as the saying goes, “You don’t know, what you don’t know.” She was our first born, and my teaching experience thus far had been all in public elementary schools. We lucked out, and the first two years were a great experience for my little one, but when there was a sudden change in director, things went downhill. We ended up leaving after year three, and you can bet I had a clipboard and checklist in hand for the next schools we toured! Speaking of which, if you want to download my Preschool Tour Checklist, click here.
I’m now an experienced mother of two; who has visited many preschools in the Westborough, MA area, taught in a hand-full of preschools and now, I actually own a preschool in Westborough, MA! I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did. I want to share what I have learned, to help you choose the best preschool in the Westborough, MA area for your little one and for your family. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Think about what your goals are for your child. Are you looking for daycare, someone to watch your child while you work? Are you looking for preschool, your child’s first educational experience? Are you looking for a combination of these?
- Make a list of all the preschools in the radius of either your house, work or where you need to be during the course of a typical day. Take note of their location and hours.
- Visit their websites and read anything and everything they have posted! Take note of their program offerings, curriculum plans, photos—and yes, even blogs! Reading website content not only will give you a sense of the preschool’s programs, it will give you a feel for the leadership and organization of the program.
- Make appointments to visit the schools that have made your short-list. Bring a tour checklist (click here to download mine) to help you take notes of various impressions and aspects. I actually think it is good to visit a facility more than once. First just for general impressions, and once you have your list down to just 2 or 3 schools, perhaps see if you can visit again.
- Ask questions. Make note of any questions you may have, and/or use the questions on our checklist.
- I have found that there is something to be said for “intuition” or a “vibe.” When my husband and I were looking at houses, I would walk in a house and think, “I couldn’t live here,” or I just couldn’t picture our furniture in the house; it just didn’t speak to me the way some other houses did. I think the same goes for looking at preschools. Sometimes you make a connection with the people, the program, the facility or all three, and sometimes, you just don’t. Listen to that.
- Take your time. Once you have your notes from the tours, your impressions from reading the websites and the promotional materials you were given, combine them with your intuition, and take the time to process it all. You may find that some aspects are more important to you than others. Every family is different and unique and needs to make an informed choice that fits for them. For some, the center’s hours and location are vital for their family’s schedule. For others, the curriculum and staff outweigh the hours. Some families choose to have their child attend a preschool, but they really needed day-care hours, so they get creative and find friends, family or a nanny to fill in the gaps, so be ready to be flexible.
Enjoy this new stage of parenting, and best wishes!
Have any questions? Want a tour of our new preschool facility, The Westboro Learning Center, in Westborough, MA? Click here to get in touch.