How to Choose the Best Preschool For Your Child: A Review

Eliza Clark
September 10, 2010

As the children march off to preschool this week, parents of "big kids" everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief mixed with a little anxiety and dose of nostalgia for good measure.

For parents of toddlers, on the other hand, September is the season to get serious about finding a preschool for next year. Yikes! As newbie parents quickly learn, preschools come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes: different philosophies, different class sizes and different schedules, not to mention different application procedures. It's enough to make you wish you had a preschool guidance counselor!

As pie in the sky as that wish may seem, it has more or less been granted in the form of a new book by San Francisco mother and marketing executive, Jenifer Wana, titled How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School.

Armed with this book and the information found in our Savvy Preschool Guide, any parent can feel confident about undertaking a successful preschool search.

Ms. Wana did her homework thoroughly when she was searching for a preschool for her own son, and reading her book it like getting class notes and test answers from the smartest girl in school. The book is well-organized, comprehensive and clearly written. Every single step in the process, no matter how great or how minute, is addressed with care and precision. It's very impressive!

You might be unsure, for example, about what terms like Montessori or play-based really mean: the answers are here. You're fretting over what you and your child should wear to your interview or observation: the answers are also here! You're wondering what in the world an essay for a preschool application is supposed to look like: you'll find a sample one here. And a whole lot more, including:

  • A preschool search timeline and comparison chart
  • Dozens of questions to ask when visiting a preschool
  • A guide to researching preschools in your area
  • A primer on submitting a strong application
  • A vital chapter on paying for preschool
  • Excellent advice on preparing your child for preschool
  • An appendix all about the unique madness of applying to New York City preschools

We could go on and on!

As you can see, this is not exactly light reading. Some parents may be inclined to take more of a see-what-happens approach -- this is preschool, after all! But for families who live in places where getting into a good preschool is a highly competitive process, Wana's step-by-step, neglect-nothing approach is truly valuable. Not all parents can hope to be as methodically minded when it comes to preschools as Ms. Wana, so we're very lucky that she has decided to share her deep knowledge and organizational genius with the rest of us.

Good luck with your preschool search, everyone!

From the Parents

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