Preschool Fair Prerequisites

The tenth annual Parent Talk Preschool Information Fair is around the corner and will not only represent thirty area preschools, but enrichment programs as well. Come prepared on Wednesday October 1st from 7pm to 9pm at Newman Elementary School! 

For some of us attending the fair, applications are on the immediate horizon while others may be at the very beginning of information gathering. Whether you know nothing about Needham, Westwood, Dover and Wellesley area preschools or have attended the fair in previous years, it is helpful to prepare your mindset in order to avoid being overwhelmed and to leave feeling that you got something out of the evening.  Here are a few items to consider…

How are you going to navigate the booths? Give yourself at least thirty minutes to make your way to all the tables and bring a bag or folder for any brochures and applications you gather. Do you want to hone in on preschools that are in your town or are you willing to drive to a neighboring area if the setting is right for your child? Some people are lucky enough to be able to walk their child to preschool and arrive toting a scooter for him to ride home. The three hour school day can become very compressed when you have to drive fifteen minutes each way. On the other hand, the preschools nearest you may not offer all that you want for your child’s early education experience.

Arrive with a few questions prepared for the directors and teachers representing the preschool. Many people say that they make a decision based on ‘a feeling’ they get from interacting with people who will care for their child. In addition to taking hand-outs, be sure to make time to exchange a few words. 

As you form your questions and consider various programs, you will want to take some time to think about your own feelings about preschool and what you want most for your child.  Though there are programs that are better known than others, only you know your child and what will be the best fit for your family. What do you want from your child’s preschool? Is the security of the building of paramount importance? Are you looking for a large outdoor play area? What about special subjects like music or a foreign language? Do you want a strictly child-centered program with a lot of opportunity for open ended play or does your child need more structure? Are you more concerned about socialization or academic skill building?

Finally, it may seem daunting to have to ‘apply’ for your child to have his or her first experience in school. After making all of these careful considerations, it is unsettling to know that the school of your choice may not be the school that accepts your son or daughter. Many preschools have limited numbers to maintain small student to teacher ratios and preferences go to returning families. Rest assured, your child will go to preschool and it is more likely than not that you will feel that it all happened for a reason. In the meantime, come to the fair and get your comprehensive book of local area preschools and good luck in your search!

About the Author:

Liza d’Hemecourt lives in Needham with her husband and two toddlers. She went to Boston College and studied theater as an undergraduate and elementary education in graduate school. Prior to having children, Liza taught Kindergarten and first grade in Needham.  


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