How do I choose the right Christian preschool for my child?
Choosing a Christian preschool in Lancaster County can be an overwhelming experience. It doesn’t have to be that way, however, when you know what to look for.
Most preschool learning experiences take place during times of play. Since play is so crucial to the development of a child, the learning environment of the classroom should reflect opportunities for play and exploration. This brings us to the first thing to look for in choosing a preschool: The educational philosophy of the school.
Philosophy of Education
Every Christian preschool has a philosophy of education it operates by. This philosophy will be reflected in the classroom, as well as in the marketing materials of the preschool. You will want to find a preschool that matches your family’s values and your child’s needs and personality. Play-based preschools assume the philosophy that the child learns best through play. Children in these types of programs typically choose their activities and learn at their own pace. Academic preschools are teacher-directed and include activities with a pre-math or pre-reading skills development focus.
Don’t be afraid to ask about the qualifications of the teachers and staff at a preschool. Knowing your child’s teacher is qualified will give you peace of mind as your child begins his educational journey. Good questions to ask a preschool teacher are:
- What degree or training has the teacher has obtained for him/herself?
- How many years of experience does the teacher have?
- What do they love about their job?
- Are they certified in CPR and first aid?
Observe your child’s potential teacher as well. Are the children engaged and having fun? Is the teacher working with individuals, groups, and the whole class throughout the day? Does the teacher have adequate staff to help in the classroom? Remember, a good preschool teacher understands how children develop and this will be reflected in the classroom.
Parents should be in agreement with how the Christian preschool they choose handles discipline. Many preschools establish expectations for behavior with their class from day one. If there is a breach in expectations of behavior, parents will need to know how the school will address the issue with their child. Generally speaking, a Christian preschool’s method of discipline should encourage respect between the teacher and child.
As you search for a preschool, keep in mind that most Christian preschools are private schools which will mean you will have to pay tuition. Tuition costs vary by school. You will need to know what your family can afford to pay for preschool. Many Christian preschools offer monthly tuition payments, or a discount if tuition is paid in full at the beginning of the year. Be sure to ask your school of choice for tuition details prior to registration!
Transportation is another factor to consider. Generally, parents choose a preschool close to their home or place of work. Ask if the preschool provides transportation or if you will be responsible for both drop off and pick up. If the preschool does not provide transportation, be sure to select 2-3 people who would be willing to pick your child up for you if you cannot. You will need to inform the preschool of friends or family authorized to pick up your child.
Biblical Worldview @ Dayspring Christian Academy
Dayspring Christian Academy’s preschool is set apart from other Christian preschools in Lancaster simply because each subject is taught to develop a biblical worldview.
According to the Nehemiah Institute, “Schools that develop a biblical worldview are careful to select curriculum resources that promote the theme of ‘biblical worldview’ and teach students how to reason from the scriptures to a correct understanding of the subject matter. This is a consideration given for all subjects, in all grade levels. Teachers, at all grade levels, are provided with in-service training on both biblical philosophies of education and biblical worldview understanding.”
On developing a biblical worldview, Dayspring Headmaster, Dr. Michael Myers states, “Developing a biblical worldview in our students is a key directive of our school mission statement. It is also consistently at the top of the list when our parents are surveyed as to why they have their children in our school.”
What does developing a biblical worldview look like in preschool?
Preschool teacher Mrs. Angela Whicker says, “The alphabet is introduced using different people from the Bible whose names begin with that particular letter. Often after the Bible lesson is taught, the children are encouraged to act out what they have just heard as the story is retold. Doing this helps to cement in their minds Biblical truths of faith, trust, and a reverence for God.”
Because Dayspring Christian Academy is also a Principle Approach school, students are given a classical Christian education. The heart of the Principle Approach teaches students to reason from biblical truth, or principles, and to make applications to every area of life. Mrs. Angela Whicker says, “We incorporate the Principle Approach at the relational level. As the children play, create, and pretend, their interaction with one another is observed and guided to help them learn to be kind and respectful to one another, self-controlled, and honoring to God. Notebooks are developed as a record of a living curriculum, taught and modeled by the teacher, researched, and reasoned by the student. From these notebooks, parents see the growth and progression of their child.”
So, what are the results of a preschool Principle Approach education?
Dayspring preschool teacher, Mrs. Angela Whicker observes, “The children are comfortable in the classroom environment. They now know how to raise their hands in circle time, be patient and wait for others to have a turn, and there has been growth in how to talk to each other in appropriate ways when they are displeased with a classmate. Their recognition of letters and numbers has greatly increased. Also, their appetite for science has been whet through experiments with concepts such as float vs. sink, gravity, and magnets.”
Choosing a preschool in Lancaster County, PA is a vital part of your child’s growth and development. Understanding the Christian Preschool’s philosophy of education, the teacher’s qualifications, how the school handles discipline, cost, and transportation will enable you to select a preschool that meets the needs of your child and you.
Dayspring Christian Academy is enrolling for Preschool and Developmental Kindergarten (our 4’s and early 5-year-old Pre-K program in Lancaster, PA). Please click the blue button to take a personal tour or register for our upcoming Early Childhood Education Open House. If you’d like more information, please call Karol Hasting at 717-285-2000.