Assia Mahmood is the mom of two littles and owner of Windhaven Academy in Plano, a licensed childcare center offering daycare, preschool, pre-K, after school and summer programs. To learn more about her mommy-owned preschool visit windhavenacademy.com, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram for an inside look.
As a parent of young children, I know that choosing a daycare or preschool can be overwhelming. Proximity to your work or home, curriculum style and hours of operation are all key, but there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some issues you might not have thought of but are important to consider when looking for the perfect fit for your family.
Preschool Safety and Security
Having the right security measures in place is paramount to keeping kids and staff safe and putting parents at ease. When looking at a daycare, ask about how they control who has access to the children there. Do they keep their doors locked throughout the day? How many security layers are there before you can get to the kids? Is there a pick-up policy in place for authorized family or friends? And for good measure, find out how likely it is that someone can share their access control with other people.
Surveillance cameras are another feature to inquire about. Cameras help hold everyone accountable. Some childcare centers have cameras that parents can watch from home for added peace of mind, but this can lead to privacy issues. Consider that other parents, extended family members or friends could also be watching your kids if the cameras are on a shared system.
Nutrition at the Preschool
Think about what’s important to you when it comes to your child’s diet. Do you only serve organic fruits and vegetables at home? Do you keep away from added sugars? Ask whether the produce served at the preschool is fresh or canned, and if meals and snacks are cooked on-site. You want to make sure the daycare center you choose is in line with your views on child nutrition.
Contentment of the Kids
When you tour a preschool or daycare, pay attention to how the kids are interacting with each other and the caregivers. Are they gravitating toward the teachers? Are the teachers interacting with the children at their level? Is there a lot of screaming or crying? (Keeping in mind it’s a building full of kids, of course.) How content the children are can speak volumes about the kind of space that the teachers, caregivers and management have created. It indicates trust and comfort on the child’s end, and it is one of the most authentic signs of a good facility.
Parent Partnerships and Communication
Parent-teacher communication is key to a great preschool or daycare experience. When touring a center, ask if there is a way for parents to communicate directly with the teachers and caregivers. Do they use an app for updates throughout the day? Are they flexible with drop-off and pick-ups?
It’s also a good idea to find out if the facility hosts inclusive family events. These can indicate good parent partnerships.