It was just yesterday your little one’s hand was wrapped around your finger, and now you can hardly get them to slow down long enough for a hug. In the blink of an eye it’s time to send your baby off to school to face the world, and how you long for the days when you held them in your arms and protected them.
It’s hard enough letting your little one grow up without adding in unnecessary worry. Here’s how to keep your child safe in preschool, so you can focus less on worrying and more on watching your preschooler blossom.
Sending your preschooler to a quality school ensures that there will be measurements in place to provide a safe learning environment. A high quality school:
Provides Unique Learning Opportunities
A quality school will provide a curriculum that can be modified to fit children’s unique needs. Staff and teachers understand that every child has their own way of learning, and they’ve planned ahead to ensure each child gets the most out of their education.
Focuses on All Areas of Learning
Your child’s preschool should focus on developing social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills. Learning these skills keeps your preschooler’s body and mind healthy, and also helps your preschooler develop the skills necessary to identify a bad situation, and speak up when necessary.
Performing assessments on your preschooler helps your child’s school get a better understanding of how they are progressing in all areas. Finding out early on that your preschooler needs help in a certain area gives you plenty of time to work on building their skills.
Has Safety Protocols
You should check with your child’s preschool and find out what their safety protocols are. They should be able to tell you clear plans for emergencies, pick up-drop off protocols, and how they handle visitors coming to the building. A safe preschool will have emergency drills, ensure that nobody that you haven’t allowed is able to pick up your child, and check in all visitors and ensure they belong in the building.
A quality preschool will also be properly equipped with things such as:
- Safe, age appropriate playground equipment
- A fenced in play area
- Children’s furnishings
- First aid and fire extinguisher in each classroom
Teachers and staff should be trained in safety protocols and have an appropriate background to work in their field. A safe preschool teacher:
Is First Aid/CPR Certified
Teachers and staff should be trained to handle emergency situations.
Has a Clean Background
Public schools require all staff to undergo a background check before employment, but not all private schools implement this practice. You have the right to request a background check from anyone your child will be receiving care from, and if they are unable to provide you with one, they may not be your safest choice.
Has the Proper Degree/Certification
Having a degree or certification in early childhood education ensures that your child’s preschool teacher has gained the appropriate knowledge to teach your preschooler in a developmentally appropriate way, and learned skills to keep them safe in many scenarios.
It’s important to make sure that your preschooler’s teacher value’s communication. You can probably tell very early on if your preschooler’s teacher is going to communicate well with you just based on how your experience has been since enrolling. If you almost missed parent orientation because you received the email about it the night before, that might be a bad sign.
Has an Appropriate Teacher/Student Ratio
In order to maintain individual attention to each child, each teacher should have a class of no more than 6-10 children. If your preschooler’s teacher is watching 20 other children, your child’s safety won’t be able to be ensured.
You can send your preschooler to the best school with the best teachers, and still worry about their safety. Sending your preschooler to school with safety skills can protect your preschooler from situations you may not be able to see. Before school, teach your preschooler:
Your Basic Information
Your preschooler should know your first and last name, and phone number, and also learn how to dial 911 in case they are ever in a situation where they can’t find help.
Teach your preschooler that nobody is allowed to touch them or their belongings without their permission. Teaching your preschooler the appropriate names for male and female private parts, and that they belong to them and them alone is important in giving your preschooler the skills to identify a potentially wrong situation.
Make sure your preschooler knows that they have a voice and they are allowed to speak up and say no when they are uncomfortable with a situation, and make sure they know they can always come to you with anything they’re upset about.
Boosting your preschooler’s self esteem gives them the ability to bounce back from hurtful situations that may occur at school. Even preschooler’s can be a little mean to each other sometimes…especially when they haven’t had their snack. Your preschooler can brush off being called a booger brain a lot easier with your help.
To Trust Their Instincts
Ask your preschooler how they felt at a time when they were scared or worried. Did their tummy start to ache? Did they want to run away and hide? Tell your preschooler that if they are ever in a situation and their bodies start to tell them to run, they should run and find an adult they can trust and tell them what happened immediately.
Make sure they know that they will never get in trouble for getting away from a situation they didn’t feel right about, and never downplay how they felt about a situation. It’s important for your preschooler to know that you have their back no matter what.