Before you start looking, the first thing is the regulations that govern a nursery school’s operation. These are the most essential aspects.
How to choose a child education center?
1. Students per class:
it depends on the age group. The maximums are the following:
0-1 year: 8 babies.
From 1 to 2 years: 13 children.
From 2 to 3 years: 20 students.
2. The facilities:
the school must be located in a place of exclusive use for education and independent access from the outside. It must have one classroom per age group with a minimum area of 2 m2 per student and a total of about 30 m2. And although the norm does not specify it, the ideal would be a spacious and well-lit room with natural light. Also, children under 2 years of age will have a separate area for preparing food and changing diapers. There must be a visible and accessible toilet from the room for each class, with toilets and sinks adapted for children’s use. In addition to the classrooms, a 30 m2 indoor multipurpose room is essential, which can be used for various activities, including the dining room, apart from a 75 m2 fenced-in playground for the exclusive use of the center, with differentiated areas such as sandbox, swing area and shaded spaces. Finally, the school must reserve a room as a management office, a secretariat and a teachers room. Of course, look at the hygiene of the facilities as well as the security measures available.
3. The staff
From 0 to 3 years, educators must have a degree in Professional Training as Specialist Technicians in Kindergarten. Also, the center must have support staff to care for children during lunch or naps properly. But in addition to the official degree, you must pay attention to their way of relating to children – hence, when visiting the center, you must go with your child. A loving, patient and friendly treatment is what will help your little one to integrate into school.
Ask if the center has support professionals, such as a pediatrician or psychologist. Surely, neither one nor the other is on staff, but the most common is that they provide their services to a network of centers, including yours. The pediatrician will not be there to treat your child’s illnesses – a sick child should not go to school – but he can be of great help to sound the alarm about possible problems that are easier to detect at school – visual deficiencies or delays in motor skills, for example. As for the psychologist, he is very supportive for both the educator and the parents.
4. The educational project
Request it during the visit. Ask about the educational method, the curricular objectives, and consider the importance they give to the psycho-affective, social and personal development of children.
5. The ideal schedule
Public schools usually open their doors around 9:00 a.m. and close them around 4:00 p.m. For their part, those privately owned are more generous with their hours and offer longer hours -even from 7.30 in the morning for early risers and until late in the afternoon, 7.00 p.m., some of them- in an attempt to parents can reconcile family and work life. But offers aside, what is the most convenient time for a child? You may not be able to choose due to work schedule requirements, but if you are one of those who can, consider several issues before making a decision. It is true that regulated activities, those with which you will learn colors, shapes, improve your vocabulary or work with the cards, are concentrated in the morning, from 9.30-10.00 to 12.30-13.00. Still, it is also true that in a nursery school the most important learning is not focused on these academic topics but on those that will help them to form as a person. Taking the child only the hours of the activities thinking about their training may not be entirely successful.
Public or private school?
The Autonomous Communities have limited places to cover publicly funded schooling for children from 0 to 3 years old. Therefore, it is necessary to make a selection of them every year. And this is carried out through a point system. The most common, as priorities, are annual family income, the proximity of the center to your home or place of work and the existence of siblings at school. You can obtain other points for being a large family, for a disability that one of you or a brother or sister suffered, or any other circumstance that the center can freely set.
The information that you must provide with the admission application and the dates on which the pre-registration period opens – usually at the end of March or the beginning of April – can be consulted on the website of your Autonomous Community or the notice board. Announcements of each center.
But if you are not granted a place in the public network, you will have to apply for it in a private school. The pre-registration period usually opens a little later, but do not trust yourself, especially if you are very clear about which one you want to take him to or a highly requested center. The admission conditions are specific to each school. The result of the personal interview with the parents is usually final.