How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School [NOOK Book]


"The most useful tool out there for families about to embark on the search for a preschool!"
-Helen Cohen, director, Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center, Boston

A must-have for parents of future preschoolers

Starting preschool is one of the biggest milestones in a child's life. With this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, you won't have to navigate the preschool process alone. Whether the nursery schools ...

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How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School

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"The most useful tool out there for families about to embark on the search for a preschool!"
-Helen Cohen, director, Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center, Boston

A must-have for parents of future preschoolers

Starting preschool is one of the biggest milestones in a child's life. With this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, you won't have to navigate the preschool process alone. Whether the nursery schools nearby enroll every child, or they're so competitive that they only accept a few applicants, this book has everything you need to know to choose and get into the right preschool for your child. You'll learn:

  • How to find high-quality preschools in your area
  • Insight into popular preschool programs (Montessori, Waldorf, play based, cooperative)
  • Key criteria to consider when choosing a preschool
  • Strategies for paying for preschool (financial aid, tax benefits)
  • How to help prepare your child for the first day of preschool
  • Advice for gaining admission into competitive programs, including getting off the waiting list, submitting a strong application, and preparing for a child assessment

"This well-organized, comprehensive book will help parents navigate the world of preschool."
-Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum, authors of Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years and directors of the 92nd Street Y Nursery School, New York

"A gift to every parent starting the preschool search."
-Irene Byrne, MA, author of Preschools by the Bay and executive director of the Phoebe Hearst Preschool, San Francisco

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
""Wana offers practical advice on everything from researching and finding a school to the application process to-assuming the process is successful-preparing the child for the first day. A solid resource for parents of preschoolers."" - Booklist

""The subtitle of Jenifer Wana's preschool primer says it all: "The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School." Type A moms everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief because How To Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child (Sourcebooks, $14.99, 256 pages, ISBN 9781402242083) will save you loads of time navigating essays, interviews, applications and recommendation letters."" - BookPage

""How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery tells parents everything from criteria for choosing a preschool to preparing for admission interviews, as well as advice on applying to competitive preschools, including writing essays, soliciting recommendations and getting off the waiting list."" - Mom Most Traveled

""An invaluable resource for those that are entering the world of preschool"" - Preschool Playbook

""This is a wonderful resource for parents to help them start on this journey and process with their child."" - Plus Size Mommy

""Simple, sensible and sequential, the book is your one-stop shop for preschool time."" - Mom Writes

""I consider How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child the most comprehensive guidebook for parents looking to send their child to preschool."" - Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest

""This book is a great resource for any parent of a toddler getting ready to embark on the road to preschool."" - Katie Talks About

Library Journal - BookSmack!
Wana, director of brand marketing at Pottery Barn, survived the cutthroat preschool admissions process, having filled out numerous applications and attended fairs, seminars, and panel discussions. She even brought her son in for observation at play dates and wrote essays describing his strengths and challenges. Outlining an admissions process that would make even Harvard applicants scream, she presents sample thank you and recommendation letters, advises on accepting an admissions offer, and counsels on what to do when you're (gasp!) wait-listed. There are parts of the country where supply and demand make preschool attendance extremely competitive; for those areas or blackhawk moms and crazy people. Julianne J. Smith, "Parenting Short Takes", Booksmack!, 10/21/10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402256608
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 866 KB

Meet the Author

Jenifer Wana conceived the idea for How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child after going through the process of researching and applying to preschools for her son and while doing a pro bono consulting project for GreatSchools, a nonprofit education organization that helps parents find and evaluate preschools and K 12 schools.
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Read an Excerpt

This is the book I wanted to read when I started looking for a preschool for my son, Josh. Unfortunately, it hadn't been written yet.

Like any parents, my husband and I wanted to find the best place for our son-a preschool that would nurture him, teach him, and be a good fit for our family. But I quickly learned that this would not be as easy as it seemed. I was over­whelmed by the options-when I was growing up, kids just went to the nursery school closest to home, if they went at all. I didn't know where to begin to find the best preschools in my neighborhood or what characteristics defined a high-quality program. Terms like Montessori, child centered, and co-op were foreign to me. School tours gave me a clearer picture of what each school was like, but I wasn't sure what I should be on the lookout for or what questions I should ask to see if it was the right place for us.

What I also discovered about the preschool process was that there is no process. Unlike college or graduate school, there are no standard time lines or admissions procedures that all nurs­ery schools follow-and very few resources to help parents navigate the process. So I went to preschool fairs, attended seminars and panel discussions, read books and articles, and had countless conversations with other parents who had been through the process. I pored over school websites and bro­chures, toured schools, and filled out endless applications. For a few programs, I brought Josh in to be observed at "playdates" and wrote essays describing his strengths and challenges.

In the end, we were fortunate, and Josh was accepted to our first-choice school-even though, as we learned later, there were over two hundred applications for thirty spots (most of which went to siblings of students already at the school).

After helping countless other parents navigate their pre­school search on the basis of my experience, my research, and the advice I'd received, I decided to pull all of the information together into a book to benefit other parents of soon-to-be preschoolers. I hope to demystify the process for those who don't have access to all the mommy lore from knowledgeable friends and family.

Whether the preschools in your town enroll every child that signs up or are so competitive that they can accept only a few applicants each year, this book will give you the tools you need to find, research, and choose the best programs for your child. You will learn about the different types of preschool philosophies and know how to put your best foot forward when applying to selective schools that can't admit every ap­plicant. This book will also give you practical advice on how to help your child prepare for his or her first preschool experi­ence and have a great first day.

Preschool is the first step in your child's educational journey. I hope that with this book as your guide, you'll be able to find the school that works best for your family, and you will start your child on a lifelong adventure of learning and discovery.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments                              xi
Introduction                                 xiii
Chapter 1: Preschool Primer                    1
What Is Preschool?                               3
Do I Have to Send My Child to Preschool?             5
What Are the Benefits of Preschool?                  6
Is Private Preschool My Only Option?Is There Public Preschool?                        8
Chapter 2: Getting Organized                  13
It's Never Too Early                             13
Preschool Search Time Line                       15
Tips for Keeping Organized                       19
Chapter 3: Choosing a Preschool: The Basics   21
Know Your Child and Your Family                  22
At What Age Do I Want My Child to Start Preschool?   25
What's the Best Location?                         28
What Schedule Works Best For Our Family?          30
How Much Can We Afford to Pay for Preschool?       33
Chapter 4: What to Look for in a Preschool    37
What Is the Classroom Like?                       37
What Are the Teachers Like?                      40
How Is the School Run?                          42
What Is the Community Like?                     47
Dedicated Preschool or Ongoing School?             48
What Does the Admissions Process Tell You?          51
What Are the School Policies?                     55
What Matters Most?                             60
Chapter 5: Types of Preschool Programs        63
Child Centered versus Teacher Directed             64
Play Based                                     65
Montessori                                    67
Reggio Emilia                                  70
Waldorf                                       72
Academic                                     74
Preschool Settings                               75
How Much Does It Matter?                       81
Chapter 6: Researching Preschools             83
How to Find Preschools                          84
Narrowing Down Your List of Preschools             87
How Many Preschools Should You Apply To?         90
Chapter 7: Visiting Preschools                 93
Deciding Which Preschools to Visit                 94
Opportunities to Visit                            95
Arranging the Visit                              97
Preparing for Your Visit                          99
During Your Visit                              101
After Your Visit                               113
Chapter 8: The Preschool Admissions Process  115
Open Enrollment                              116
The Waiting List                               117
Regular Admissions                             121
Lottery System                                123
How Do Preschools Decide Who Gets In?           124
Dos and Don'ts of Applying                      128
Chapter 9: Submitting a Strong Application    131
General Information Section                      131
Application Questions                          132
Tips for Writing                               134
Common Application Questions                   135
Sample Essays                                 139
Recommendation Letters                        140
Chapter 10: Child and Parent Interviews       143
Child Interviews                               143
Parent Interviews                              149
Chapter 11: Making the Final Decision        155
But We Still Haven't Heard                      157
We've Been Wait-Listed-What Now?              157
Our Favorite Preschool Turned Us Down-What Now? 160
Our Child Didn't Get a Spot at Any Preschool-What Are Our Options?     162
Accepting an Offer                             163
Chapter 12: Paying for Preschool             165
Determine Your Budget                         166
Keeping Preschool Costs Down                   167
Financial Aid                                  169
Dependent-Care Flexible Spending Account         171
Child Care Tax Credit                          173
Child Care Subsidies                            175
Chapter 13: Preschool Readiness Skills        177
Social and Emotional Skills                       178
Cognitive Skills                                184
Physical Skills                                 187
Separating from Parents                         189
Potty Training                                 189
Chapter 14: Countdown to the First Day of Preschool      193
During the Summer                            193
Three to Four Weeks before Preschool Starts         195
One to Two Weeks before Preschool Starts          198
The Day before Preschool Starts                   206
The First Day of Preschool                       208
Chapter 15: Supporting Your Child throughout Preschool               213
Be Patient-There's an Adjustment Period           213
Communicate with Your Child and the Teacher      217
Be an Involved Parent                           221
Appendix 1                                    225
Appendix 2                                    229
Appendix 3                                    233
About the Author                            239

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    A black she with sky blue eyes is dropped off. She is slightly feisty but can be a bit perky.

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    Is thrown in, harshly.

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