Twenty questions a parent must ask when choosing a preschool

Choosing a preschool requires careful research

These are the twenty "must-ask" questions when choosing a preschool according to Jodie Lynn, an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist. This list is from her book, Mommy-Ceo: 5 Golden Rules.

 1.  Ask for a quick tour and a policy manual.  Get a good look in the rooms.
 2.  Ask to see the curriculum listing and plan book (or sheets) for the current 4-year-old class.
 3.  How many classes are there?
 4.  What credentials does the school have?
 5.  How long has the present director been there?
 6.  What is the background of the teacher that your son may get?  How long has she taught?  If a teacher does not have a degree, it's not a big deal.  Go by experience and how she presents herself to you and your child.
 7.  How many and what kind of meals are served?
 8.  How old is the building?  Has it been tested for asbestos and what type of cooling and heating do they offer?

Is your school up-to-date?

 9.  How big is the inside and outside play area?
10. How many children are in one class?
11. Is there an aide if the class goes over a certain number?
12. What type of discipline guidelines do they have?
13. Is the room safe and child-friendly?
14. Are the toys and books on the low shelf?  How often are the toys washed?
15. Are there field trips?  Who drives the field trips?
16. Is there a music and/or art program?
17. If academics are important to you, ask about how much writing and reading they will do.
18. Don't ditch the preschool if it is not accredited.  This process is expensive and some cannot afford it.

Check out our Education Guide.

19. Write down other questions that might be important to your individual child and family.
20. If you do not understand any answer -- ask the question again.  Do not be shy.  Talk to other parents and call references.

Lastly, you want a teacher who knows first aid, loves children, and adores teaching four-year-olds. A little work in the beginning could save a lot of heartache in the end.