If you are a parent of a two- to three-year-old, then January is your “back-to-school” season. It’s when you will be asked “are they in school?” or “will they start this fall?” by just about everyone you meet. If this is your first preschooler or you are new to the area, researching preschools can be a stressful and daunting task. So Little Lake County is here to help with our Preschool Parent ToolKit, with all the information and resources you need to choose a preschool that is the best fit for your family and where your child will flourish.
The first and most important decision to make is what kind of preschool you are looking for your child, and it can be more than one type! The most common in our area are:
- Reggio Emilia
You will also need to know if you are looking for a full- or half-day program. It makes no sense to fall in love with a school if you need full-day and they only offer half-day. Don’t know the answers to those important questions? Heather, a former teacher, breaks down the different types of preschools and how to tell if it’s right for your family, start here:
After you have narrowed down the type of school you want you will need to find one that is in your area, check out our Little Lake County Preschool Guide:
Just updated for 2019, the Little Lake County Preschool guide provides you with preschool listings in our area sorted by city, so you can find the one near home or work. Each listing is formatted the same so you can easily and quickly compare:
- Type of School
- Ages offered
- Full-day or Half-day
New this year we’ve added an interactive map that places all the preschools in our guide on a map so you can follow your route to work or explore your neighborhood to find your school. We walk you through the guide here:
Once you have your list of schools, you will want to set up visits to tour the facilities and meet the teachers. Many schools will let you do this at any time; I recommend bringing the preschooler when you can, as seeing how they handle and interact with the facility can help you make a decision. You may have had your heart set on one style of school, but it just didn’t work for your child. Every month we will publish a list of Preschool Open Houses and Fairs. These are great, no-pressure opportunities to check out several locations before narrowing down your choices and taking a private tour.
Finally, talk to parents in your circles. Getting advice from the parents you know and trust about types and personal experiences with preschools is invaluable. Our team of veteran parents have a lot of input on schools and transitioning:
- Look Inside: Nature Walk Montessori, Bright Horizons – Northbrook, AAUW Preschool,
- Tips for Starting School for the First Time
- AAUW Preschool shared with us The Three C’s: Communication, Cooperation
andCollaboration, the social skills learned in preschool that areimperative for life.
- Easing the Transition from Summer to School – great tips even if it’s transitioning from
- Tips and Tricks for No-stress mornings
Choosing a preschool doesn’t have to be daunting when you have the tools and resources you need.
How did you find your preschool?
Little Lake County is not associated with any one preschool or school philosophy, partnerships and event listings are not an endorsement of a particular school or curriculum but are provided to give the community more in-depth information about options available.