Choosing a child care center for your family is one of the most important decisions you may ever make in your child’s life. As a parent, you want to be confident that you make the right decision for your little one, but how do you make the best choice? With so many options available it can be overwhelming and challenging to decide what will be a perfect fit. It is important to pick a center that aligns with your own philosophies around learning. Putting your child in the right center will help your child grow and develop the critical skills they need to excel throughout the rest of their lives.
To help make your decision easier and help alleviate some of the stress you might be feeling, we at Eden Prairie Montessori put together a checklist of questions that every parent should be asking the child care providers when they visit.
Start with the practical matters first to see if it fits with your families needs. This includes the school’s hours, proximity to your home or work, available transportation, after-hours options, cost, class size, etc. Then, more importantly, you’ll want to ask the following questions to evaluate if the school’s philosophies are in tune with your own. The answers to these questions will let you know if the school will be the best fit for you and your child.
Is your early childhood education center NAEYC Accredited?
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s leading organization of early childhood education, health and safety. Accreditation by NAEYC represents a high mark of quality in early childhood education and a benchmark for kindergarten readiness.
Being an accredited school is no easy accomplishment and certainly not easy to maintain. It means the school holds themselves to high standards and that the school is dedicated to maintaining those standards consistently. Any school that does not value seeking and maintaining accreditation is satisfied with the minimums.
Eden Prairie Montessori’s NAEYC Accreditation assures you that the program has met and maintains the highest national standards for a safe, healthy and developmentally appropriate, educationally enriched learning program. Our program meets the NAEYC’s 10 standards for excellence to earn this accreditation. Our commitment to excellence is obvious, and we invite you to come see for yourself!
What are the curriculum and philosophies of learning at the preschool?
Choose a school that fits with your family’s philosophies of learning and your child’s learning style. It is essential that the school you choose agrees with your basic practices in child development. Ask how the program supports children’s social and emotional development as well as intellectual development. Some child care centers may offer extracurricular learning experiences or have add-on programs that can be beneficial to your child’s growth and development.
You can never replace your child’s preschool years, so you’ll want to find a curriculum that has a track record for fully developing their learning foundation and allowing your child to be fully ready for kindergarten. Familiarize yourself with the curriculum program at each school. Ask prospective schools how long their center has successfully used their selected program (or do they tend to jump around to various options from year to year?) and why they feel it is the best education they can provide to their students.
At Eden Prairie Montessori it is our mission to inspire a love of life-long learning, independence, responsibility, and respect in all students. Through our decades of experience, we’ve done just that and been able to share in the joy of our students’ success. We provide preschoolers with an enhanced, time-tested early education program that is vastly different from other preschools. The Montessori philosophy suggests children should be introduced to a variety of subjects with specially developed, age-appropriate materials. Through self-guided exploration, children can work at their own pace to learn basic functions, concepts, skills, and independence. Our early learning center provides a special understanding of each individual child, flexibility with consistency, mutual respect of others and our environment, freedom of choice within limits, and the foundations for a lifetime of self-development. With over 20 years of success in the Eden Prairie community, our Montessori school philosophy has benefited thousands of children through the years.
What special programs are offered at the school? What extracurricular and add-on programs does the school have?
Some schools don’t provide special programs or additional learning opportunities outside of their general curriculum. The unique programs offered at the school can tell you a little more about the values and teaching styles of the school. You’ll want to ask what special programs are offered and decide if they are in line with your family’s learning philosophies. Some schools may offer special language programs while others offer special exercise programs. Look at all the programs offered at the school and ask the school why they offer those specific programs and how it will benefit your child. Decide what is most important to you and your child and what features you are looking for in a school.
In addition to our Montessori learning experience, Eden Prairie Montessori Learning Center offers yoga, Spanish language, art, music & piano, yoga and gymnastics with Dancercise Kids, health classes, and outdoor nature time to provide a well-rounded learning experience and create the foundations for a healthy lifestyle. *Weekly Schedule of extracurriculars: Mondays – Our music teacher offers Piano lessons using The Brainway Piano Series. // Tuesdays – Dancercise Kids -ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling, creative dance and sign language // Wednesdays – Wee Move Yoga and Gymnastics // Thursdays – Embrace Health // Fridays – Amazing Athletes // *Stay tuned for more in depth information on our extracurricular activities!
What is the staff turnover rate?
Staff turnover rate is how often staff are leaving and new staff are coming on board at the center. This is important because it can affect your child’s comfort and sense of security if changes are too frequent. High turnover can be a sign of unhealthy staff and foreshadow a serious problem in the center’s culture. Look for owners, directors, and staff that have made a commitment to the caring and education of children because it is their calling and they love what they do. Only then will you be assured that your child will receive the attention and nurturing and love they deserve.
At Eden Prairie Montessori, we pride ourselves with the longevity of our teachers and staff, which provides stability for our students. When employment opportunities do come up, we always seek out motivated and enthusiastic staff who are in it for the long haul! We are proud to have a staff of happy, friendly, loving care providers at our center. Our responsive teachers are dedicated, nurturing and well trained.
How does the center embrace and celebrate diversity?
Diversity and multiculturalism is so important because the world is changing every day. Children must learn to accept and get along with all cultures, races, and religions in order to become productive citizens of the world. A teacher’s job is to prepare students for the real world, and the real world is a multicultural one. Look for a child care center that incorporates multiculturalism into their classrooms, and teaches love, acceptance and celebrates diversity.
At Eden Prairie Montessori we are proud of our diversity. Our students and staff come from a varied background of countries and cultures. This gives us the unique ability to recognize and celebrate a wide range of cultures and holidays of the world with authenticity. Your child will learn from an early age to respect and cherish the qualities that make us all different and unique, while recognizing that we are all bound by a common thread of humanity.
What is the training background of the caregivers? Are caregivers certified in first aid and infant CPR?
A well-trained preschool staff is necessary to insure that children are prepared to start elementary school ready to learn. Continued training and education leads to improved skills and research has shown that children who receive care from highly trained professionals are more likely to flourish and have greater opportunities for learning. A well educated staff is one of the best indicators for a high quality child care center.
Staff members at daycare facilities need to be certified in first aid and CPR. This allows them to provide the proper response when a child is injured or has stopped breathing. Training for staff should also cover what to do in emergency situations such as a fire, earthquake, tornado or other natural disaster. Each daycare center must train its own staff for emergency situations, since responses are geared toward the facilities’ physical layouts.
Every member of the Eden Prairie Montessori team is fully trained and credentialed to guide the growth and development of your children. We believe that by surrounding our students with highly qualified, specially trained professionals, each will reach his or her full potential from a cognitive, social, emotional, and physical perspective. Each of our lead teachers must complete Montessori certification under a credible Montessori training program that is recognized by the Department of Human Services, in addition to their teacher qualifications. Each staff member is trained in CPR and First Aid, keeping your child safe at all times. Through ongoing training, we’re constantly improving our ability to care for and guide our students.
What is the center’s staff to child ratio?
One of the most important quality indicators for child care centers is the number of children compared to the number of staff — its staff to child ratio. The fewer children served by each staff member is critical to higher quality care. Improved educator to child ratios allows staff to give more individual care and attention and contributes to better social and learning outcomes for children. It enables educators to develop more effective and meaningful relationships, resulting in more engaged, happy and relaxed children.
Our classrooms at Eden Prairie Montessori are set up so that your child can develop a relationship with their teacher that is collaborative, strong, and long-term. The positive effects of our reduced student to teacher ratio and multi-age environments are evident when you visit our child care center! Our infant rooms are limited to 12 with a 1-4 teacher to child ratio. Toddler rooms of 20 children are in the care of 3 Montessori Adults (1 teacher & 2 assistants), while our preschool/kindergarten age classes of 24 also have 2 Montessori Adults and 1 Assistant each. By working with 1 to 2 students at a time in small groups, instructors are able to give each child the attention they need while observing their work and progress.
At Eden Prairie Montessori Learning Center your children are loved and cared for in a nurturing and enriching way. Since 1982 Eden Prairie has been carefully guiding children and providing parents with the highest level of trust and care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten-age students. We are honored to have been involved in the lives of hundreds of families and welcome the opportunity to be a part of yours as well. With deep-rooted commitments to the Eden Prairie community, a year-round schedule, and leading qualifications, we look forward to serving the needs of your family.
To learn more about our child care center in Eden Prairie and programs, contact us at 952-777-3606. We look forward to meeting you!
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