10 Questions to Ask When Signing Up For a New Activity
January 30, 2011
The end of January often marks the end of the fall/winter "semester" of preschool-age activities and classes, and the beginning of the spring term. Now is the time when you may be on the verge of shifting your child's schedule around for the spring, signing up for new classes, or trying out a spring sport.
Classes and sports can offer young children absolutely wonderful learning experiences, but they also represent a big investment of time and money. Before you make a final decision about a particular program, be sure you know the answers to these questions...
- What will my child get out of this class: new skills, an enhanced comfort level with a new activity, or just plain fun? Make sure your expectations for the class are in line with what the program offers.
- Can I bring my child to observe or take a trial class before signing up? This is the best way to gauge whether the program is a good fit for your child.
- Given my child's age, skills and interests, is this class the appropriate level? If not, will she be able to switch mid-way? This is especially important if it's a brand new activity and program.
- What is the make-up policy for missed classes? Some programs are flexible and others are not -- make sure you know what you're in for.
- Do the other kids in the class all know each other already? It may not be fun for your child to join a class of other kids who all come from the same preschool, for example.
- What is the staff-to-kids ratio? You'll want to know how much of the teacher's attention your child will be getting, especially important for an activity that happens only once a week.
- What new equipment/clothing will we need, how much does it cost, and where can I get it? Don't let yourself be surprised by hidden costs!
- If my child really does not enjoy the first day, is it possible to drop the class? What penalties would apply? Kids can't really know what something will be like until they try it. If you have any doubts about your child's love of the activity, this is an important question to ask.
- Which teacher will be leading my child's class? Teachers make all the difference! If possible, get the scoop about great teachers from other parents, or ask to meet and/or observe the teacher before signing up.
- Are parents and caregivers expected to participate, wait, or drop-off? Is there a comfortable waiting area that can accommodate siblings? Don't forget that this needs to be a reasonably pleasant activity for you and/or your child's caregiver too!