Our Top Five Priorities for Choosing the Best Preschool

February 5, 2018

In New York City the topic of preschool seems to be one of the first things people start asking you about when you’re pregnant. Yes, that’s right, pregnant. I’ve heard of parents who actually put their kiddos on waiting lists for preschools while they’re still in the womb. If you’ve been reading here for awhile you know we are simply not that big of planners and to be totally truthful we’re still in the process of figuring out exactly when and where we should send Owen to preschool.

That being said, we realize that now is the right time to begin to explore options and open up our dialog as parents when it comes to early education and socializing for Owen. Both my sister in law, Riley, and Amy, my good pal and often times photographer of this blog, worked at Kindercare and they’re honestly two of the greatest people I know with kids of all ages. So when Kindercare expressed interest in working together to explore what’s important to our family, I was completely on board.

Read through to learn our top five priorities for determining what preschool would be best for Owen!

Safety & comfort. One of my biggest anxieties as a mother beginning to think about sending Owen to childcare or preschool is knowing that he will be comfortable and safe. I know when the day comes it will be a tough transition for us both, but knowing that he’s taken care of will help to ease the changes on my end for sure. It’s important when making this investment that I’m actually allowing myself to work while he’s there and the only way I will be able to do so is knowing that he’s safe.  

Purposeful play. Since Owen is coming up on being two and a half we’re right in that sweet spot between childcare and preschool that traditionally starts at three. If we were to send him to a preschool today it would be really important that there was some structured play in place that helps to encourage education without being too rigid. As much as Zack and I do our best to engage with Owen energetically each day, we are often times juggling work, meetings, and household chores so the idea of him getting a little more of that attention would be such a relief to us as parents and would allow our time with him to be that much more focused.

Social and emotional development. Since Zack and I both work from home and have the flexibility in our schedules to care for Owen, one of our biggest pulls to send him to preschool part-time would be the opportunity for him to develop more social skills. While we were traveling we noticed that this was the area we needed help with the most as parents. We were bouncing from country to country where we weren’t fluent in the language and really felt the effects of him not having the chance to socialize with too many other kids. We are of course making this a priority now that we’re back in New York, but enrolling him in a facility where this is also one of their main concerns is at the top of our list.

Affordability. Anyone else who lives in New York City knows the insanely high costs of childcare and living in general, so finding a preschool that doesn’t break the bank is essential, especially as freelancers where our income fluctuates each month. Kindercare works with each family to address their needs and find the best answer to tuition costs for your family since it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

Confidence. Considering Owen is our first and only child this whole process can feel a bit nerve wracking. I think as parents we’re all questioning whether or not we’re doing it right, so finding a preschool that instills confidence in parents, children and their staff goes a long way. A huge part of confidence for me, in any area of my life, is open communication. It will be crucial that wherever we send Owen that their staff and teachers make an effort to communicate how Owen’s time there is going.

This is just the beginning of a huge conversation for our family and I would love to hear from more experienced parents on how you navigated this crucial time and decision for your family. To learn more about Kindercare and their approach to education click here.

This post was sponsored by Kindercare.

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  • My daughter has a January birthday and we don’t have JK in the province where we live, so she’ll be nearly 6 when she starts school. She has definitely been on preschool waitlists since the womb! But it’s all been for naught — we moved when she was 16 months, meaning those first waitlists were a waste of money. And we’ve all changed so much since she was born — full-time preschools (which I thought would be no big deal before she was born) I now know totally won’t suit us. She’s on a few lists now because I like to have options, but I’m definitely not sure what we’ll be doing! Philosophy (I favour something Waldorf-inspired), location (ideally within walking distance) and size (smaller is better) are my top considerations.

    • I totally understand that! It’s crazy how everything changes after they’re born doesn’t it? And it just keeps changing too (at least for us). Your philosophy sounds on point! 🙂

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