Picking the perfect pre-school class for your child.

Posted by Emma Playle on 08 Mar 2018

Picking the perfect pre-school class for your child.

The world of pre-school classes! Before having a child, you have no idea that this world even exists. From Music to Massage, Sensory to Signing, if there is a skill that babies are able to learn, there is sure to be a class for it!

But which to choose? Where to go? What should you look for in a class?
If you are a little overwhelmed with choice – here are some guidelines as to what to look out for when choosing the perfect class for your child.

What are the benefits to my child?
If you’re choosing to pay for something for your child, do ensure that you get your money’s worth! Have a look at the class website and get an understanding as to what the benefits are to your child in attending the class. What will they learn? How will it help them from a developmental point of view? Don’t be afraid to ask this on the phone or by email when you make an initial enquiry.

A good pre-school teacher will be passionate about the skills they want to pass on and teach your child, so do talk and ask them questions as to the class structure and how the class will be of benefit.

Find out about the lessons themselves– how they are structured, whether there is progression, what is the same every week and what is different, and what are the main learning objectives in taking part.

Is the class age appropriate?
What is suitable for a newborn baby, is not necessarily suitable for an exploring toddler! So, it is a good idea to find out how each age group is catered for and whether the sessions are mixed age, or age specific.

Length of the class

It is tempting to go for a longer class, as you feel you are getting more value for money and it can be really good for a lot of kids. However, do bear in mind that some children’s attention spans can at times be short. Is it better to have 30 minutes of focused time with maximum learning potential? or a full hour with a very tired and over stimulated little one at the end of it!? This is something to bear in mind when looking at class length, what is the activity and what will suit your child best.

As with everything, there are varying degrees of cost of classes. Ensure that the class experience justifies the cost. In classes at the higher end of the monetary scale – the props used should be excellent, the curriculum tried and tested with obvious benefits to the children attending class and the teacher should be very knowledgeable and professional. Classes should be seamless with lots of fun for all involved! Cheaper classes may be more attractive – but may not have all the relevant insurances and risk assessments in place to ensure the safety of your child – which leads me on to….

Venue and Health and Safety
It is always a good idea to check out where classes are held. Ask yourself the following questions – is there parking nearby, are classes held on one level (ensure there are no stairs with buggies to negotiate), and is there somewhere nice to have a coffee with fellow parents after the class? Is the venue clean – with no hazards for inquisitive little ones?

If equipment is used with the children – is it in good condition? If children have things to play with – such as musical instruments, what is done to ensure these are clean and sanitized? Are they safe for use with children?

Other things to ask is if the classes are insured, and whether the teachers are aware of Child Protection and are First Aid trained.

One of the key things to get right when signing up for a weekly pre-school class is the teaching staff. Are they smart and friendly? Do they have a good rapport with the children? Do the current children in class listen and respond to the teacher? Is the teacher informative when discussing what they are teaching? Do they ensure that all children have equal input in to the class?

Go with your gut – and this is key – do you like the teacher?! As it will be their voice you will be hearing every week, make sure it is one that you are happy to listen to!

Finally – the best judge of the best local classes is your fellow parents! Ask around and see who your friends would recommend, the Epsom and Ewell Families Facebook group is a great place to get local recommendations. Most pre-school classes also have their own Facebook pages so visit these, read the reviews and get a feel of that type of class.

Try it out
Most pre-school classes offer a complimentary class so that you can go and experience the class and see how your little one responds. This is a fantastic way to get a proper feel as to how your weekly class will be. Book in and try them out!

Pre-school classes are a brilliant opportunity to enjoy proper one on one time with your child! Whatever you choose to do, I am sure you will enjoy seeing your little one have fun and thrive!

Emma xx
Principal of Monkey Music Leatherhead and Dorking

Emma Playle
Emma is one of the Principals of Monkey Music South Epsom, Leatherhead and Dorking. She has taught their award winning pre-school music classes for 5 years, training as a teacher and then taking over the business in 2015.

Emma has been a professional singer since she was 13 years old, starting in cabaret then going on to train at Laine Theatre Arts, Epsom on their Musical Theatre course. After graduating she performed in Musicals, Cruise Ships and Tours including Me & My Girl and Annie the Musical. She is a Mum to her 6 year old daughter Milly and lives in Epsom.

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