There are a few telltale signs to detect if a preschool is terrible from the first time you set foot in the door. Here are a few preliminary tips that will help you avoid those horrendous schools without investing too much time and energy:
When entering a school to find out information, always walk in during class times and unannounced. When parents call in teachers know to expect some one and often act on their best behavior. Also Directors will ensure that all their best people are present, and that they are fully staffed during scheduled tour dates. The class will always look extremely clean on a tour date and will not gibe a realistic picture of the classroom environment. Even if the school doesn’t allow you to tour right at that moment walking in and being observant for even a few seconds will give you a lasting impression.
When entering the school see how far you can walk without someone noticing you are there. If you can make it into the classroom area or anywhere where children are present, run for the door. Any establishment that allows you to walk near a child is not safe and should be brought to the attention to the board of health.
Look up standard regulations for your state from the Dept. of Health. This will give you an idea of what to look for when approaching a classroom. Check what the state stays the teacher to child ratio should be and find a school that at least meets that ratio or is better than the state reg. Also every Dept of Health site has the basic requirements for Health and safety in the preschool or nursery school environment. Lastly and most importantly the Dept of Health will let you know of any violations the school has received and why.
If you are unable to get in touch with the Dept of Health you should look in the school for the approved license from the Dept some where posted in the center. If their is none than this is not an approved center by the state and you should run for the door ! Also the school must disclose any violations they have received so don’t be afraid to ask!
Find out the hiring policy. Make sure that the employees are screened and fingerprinted. You never know how is being hired and you want to ensure that no staff ember has a criminal past. Also, all employees must have current medical forms on file. Make sure that each staff member is required to have a yearly medical as it is necessary to protect the health of the children. Lastly find out the turn over rate. If a significant amount of teachers are constantly leaving chances are the environment is unstable and faculty is unhappy.
Ultimately, it will take a very long time to find a school you will be happy with but with these few simple tips you may be able to cut some of the time and frustration! Good Luck