The right ques­tions to ask

Your Baby & Toddler - - Baby Files -

• How many staff mem­bers are there and are they qual­i­fied? Per­son­nel should be trained well. They should be en­thu­si­as­tic about the chil­dren.

• What is the teacher per child

ra­tio? The ideal is one adult to five chil­dren for chil­dren be­tween two to three years old and one: seven for three- and four-year-old chil­dren. For chil­dren older than five the ra­tio is fif­teen to one.

• Which age groups are grouped to­gether in a class? The age dif­fer­ence should not ex­ceed two years. There is a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween the skills of a three-year-old com­pared to a five-year-old.

• What does the school’s rou­tine or pro­gramme look like? A good playschool works out and sched­ules ac­tiv­i­ties. They fol­low a struc­tured sched­ule. Most chil­dren flour­ish within pre­dictable struc­tures and rou­tines. The school should work in enough time for phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, story time, group and in­di­vid­ual ac­tiv­i­ties and free play.

• Is the school li­censed? You must re­quest to see proof that the school is li­censed.

• What is the pol­icy on sick chil­dren? It is im­por­tant that sick chil­dren are not al­lowed at school. Your en­tire house­hold can get sick if your lit­tle one brings home germs from school.

• How do they in­stil dis­ci­pline? Are you com­fort­able with the way dis­ci­pline is in­stilled? All playschool­s should have a pol­icy in place to make sure that chil­dren learn right from wrong. A child that bites chil­dren, for ex­am­ple, needs to be stopped.

• Does the school have an open door pol­icy? Can par­ents pop in at any time for a visit? While you are search­ing for the right school you can pop in unan­nounced to ob­serve what is go­ing on. This will give you a good idea of how they re­ally op­er­ate. Do the chil­dren look happy and re­laxed? Are chil­dren prop­erly and ad­e­quately su­per­vised in the class­room and on the play­ground? Is the place hy­gienic? A visit will also give you an idea of the se­cu­rity. A playschool that you can just ca­su­ally waltz into at any time should sig­nal alarm bells.

• What hap­pens dur­ing school hol­i­days? Find out if the school is open dur­ing school and pub­lic hol­i­days. Is some­one avail­able to look after your chil­dren dur­ing the af­ter­noon if you are a bit late?

• How of­ten will you get a progress re­port? It should be quar­terly.

• Hid­den costs? Ask if any other fees are payable be­sides the com­pul­sory school fees and reg­is­tra­tion.

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