What to Ask on a Preschool Tour

In the past two weeks I have toured a good amount of daycares in our area. Aside from being a doting mother, as a former teacher, I had quite a few things I wanted to know. I also felt like some of my questions weren’t the easiest to answer, but when chatting with other friends they reminded me that I had every right to ask anything I wanted. This is where my child will be spending a large amount of her time and it comes down to her safety, her happiness, her health, and her education.

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If you’re a parent, gearing up to tour daycare centers, remember that you have every right to ask and be given an answer to the following questions. There also should be very little to no hesitation on any of these questions. And don’t think that bringing this printable or a notepad along is too much! If you’re anything like me not only will you not remember the details about one school, but if you’re visiting multiple schools it will be difficult to keep all the information straight in your mind, after the fact.

(You also may be wondering if the printable is actually necessary. I made it because looking back I totally would have used it! Some of the schools we toured actually sent me away with no information in hand so it definitely would’ve helped!)


• Ask about teacher TURN-OVER rate

-Is your child/family going to have the chance to bond with the teacher during the school year?

• Ask about student to teacher RATIO

-This differs per state, per center, and per age group

-Also find out if the teacher has an assistant at any time throughout the day

 • Ask about pick-up AND drop-off.   

-This boils down to safety and this should make you 100% comfortable, at the very least.

-What will they do in the event someone tries to pick her up? (phone you? refer to pick-up list?)

-Is identification required for pick-up? (even as the parent, I want to be asked for ID)

-Where do you drop off in the morning? (car side? front office? classroom?)

• Ask to see the classroom SCHEDULE

-Do they have one in place? Is it structured?

-Does it cover things you want covered?

-Is it age appropriate?

-Also, make sure you observe whether they are following the schedule while you are in the classroom (this says a lot about the teacher, classroom, and school!) If they’re not on schedule, don’t shy away from asking why.

• Ask about MEAL time 

-Where is it served?

-What snacks/meals are served throughout the day?

-What is on the school lunch menu?

-Are you allowed to pack your child’s lunch?

• Ask about DRESS code

-Are there uniforms?

-Is there a school shirt that needs to be purchased?

-What type of footwear is allowed?

• Ask about the school – wide/classroom DISCIPLINE plan

-This is also something you should be 100% comfortable with

• Ask about COSTS

-Tuition

-Book/supply fees

-Advance installments

-Capital cost (many private schools require this per family to help cover housekeeping and maintenance work)

-Registration fee

-Any other miscellaneous costs (i.e. One school we toured required $10 for a key fob)

-Additional costs throughout the year (i.e. field trips, school events)

• Ask about PAYMENT

-When do they require payment? (weekly, biweekly, monthly?)

-How do they require payment? (check, automatic withdrawal, etc?)

-Are you charged for days that your child isn’t there?

• Ask what their “SCHOOL YEAR” looks like

-Does it run like a typical school in your  area? (i.e. for this area, Sept-June)

-Is it 365 days a year (minus holidays)

-If it runs for 10 months, do they provide childcare in the summer?

• How LONG has the school been in operation?

-This gives you an idea of how experienced they are

• How FREQUENTLY can your child attend?

-Full time? This is typically five days a week

-Part time? This varies per school on days of the week and times.

-Other? Some schools will offer options outside of the two listed above. (i.e. One school we toured had “regular time” which fell in between part time and full time).

• Ask about AFTER hours care

-How much extra are you charged?

-Do they have a plan that fits your schedule?

• Ask about extracurricular ACTIVITIES

-This may be something of interest to you/your child

• What CURRICULUM is being used by the school?

-Even down to the 2 year old class there will be a specific curriculum that is being taught. Find out the name of it and as much information as you can and do your own research. Everyone’s opinions differ in this area and this may be something that is a deal breaker for you.

• Ask about the policy for “VISITORS”

-This means YOU during the school day!

-Can you stop in anytime throughout the day? Why/why not?

-Are you required to sign in upon entering the school? (We toured one school two different times (hubby couldn’t make it the first time) and their policy was different each time. That obviously looked a bit sketchy to me)

• Ask for a SUPLLY list

-These are additional costs at the beginning of the school year that you may need to budget for. (i.e. one school we toured had one single item that alone was $25)

• Ask about SAFETY

-What do the teachers/school staff do in the event of a fire? A tornado? An intruder? These are things the staff shouldn’t have to hesitate on to answer, although they may not be allowed to give specific details (i.e. lockdown drill). These plans should be in place and practiced regularly.

-How does pick up work? Drop off?

-How and where do you enter the building during the school day?

-What does the school do in the event of an injury?

-Do they contact you of any injury or only if the injury is neck and up?

• Are CLASSES based on age level or skill level?

• What is required for REGISTRATION?

-birth certificate?

-shot record?

-physical?

 

The following are some additional questions that can possibly wait for later…

-Are there things throughout the year, during the day, that parents will be invited to? (i.e. if there is a lunch one day, that is something I will want to make sure my husband and/or I have off for)

-Is there a certain day of the week school work is sent home?

-How will parents be notified of school closings? (phone tree? local news? school website?)

-Are parents allowed to bring in/send in items on their child’s birthday?

 

Below is a printable note sheet, highlighting areas I talked about above. Make sure you jot specific questions down and then right notes to yourself or answers on the printable! I hope this helps you keep all the information organized!

Click here to download!

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Best of luck on your daycare search!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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