“Mommy, I get to start big school soon. I’m so excited.” She has her backpack on and looks like she is ready to run out and catch a school bus. Her enthusiasm for moving to kindergarten and beyond thrills you. The day care where she spends part of her day takes its responsibility to prepare her for elementary school very seriously. These characteristics are important when shopping for the best day care program.
His day care includes many age-appropriate and intellectually-stimulating activities. He comes home excited about a story during circle time or tells you about the new things he learned today. His vocabulary expands faster than you can count the new words. He can’t wait to share those experiences with you and hear how smart you think he is. His teacher encourages him to talk — not that he needs a lot of encouragement. She includes group activities so kids become comfortable working together and interacting.
The day care teacher consistently enforces classroom rules like the ones she will probably have when she starts school. She has a regular schedule of activities so the kids know what to expect throughout the day. The kids have opportunities to play on the playground, eat as a class and share resources. Your child says, “Teacher told us that we will have to sit quietly part of the time in school. I can do that. I pretend to be a little mouse watching and waiting.” She might not understand why sitting still is desirable, but she is determined to do it so she can succeed.
The day care alerts you to problems with your child and offers educational opportunities to you so you’re ready for the transition. If your child has trouble hearing or seeing, you get a call with a suggestion to take him and have his eyes or ears checked. If he has trouble with learning concepts, you receive activity suggestions so you can work with him at home. You’re encouraged to volunteer in the classroom and stay involved in his education, now and when he begins elementary school.
Your child’s teacher speaks positively about school and encourages kids to believe in their ability to succeed. “Teacher told me I was the best at following the rules today and I could say all my letters and…” She can’t wait to tell you all the things the teacher praised her for during the day. She believes she can succeed because she loves to learn and her teachers tell her consistently that she’s an intelligent and capable student.