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What makes a Safe and Loving Preschool?

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By Candy Mathews, Founder, Elan Preschool

Here in Silicon Valley Preschool has become a needed asset for working parents. We are no longer living in an era where there plenty of friends next door or down the street to play with. Our kids and our mothers were home to teach us some basic academics and practice social skills and manners with the neighbor friends. Now, for those that are lucky enough to stay home, part time preschools have proved helpful.

Now preschools could be looked at as a home away from home. They should teach manners, socials skills, the comradery of a group, academics, outdoor adventures and a wide variety of activities. Parents should be able to have their attention on their jobs as they know their children are safe in their home away from home.

Safe: Of course there are the obvious: kids not leaving the preschool unsupervised, not being abused by other kids or teachers, being watched closely, no water to drown in, no accessible electrical or dangerous materials, etc. These things allow parents to feel safe.

What makes the child feel safe? Loving teachers that smile and laugh a lot goes a long ways. Confidence that if help is needed a teacher will be there. During academic time ensuring the child is winning and not making them feel wrong or stupid. Guiding but not punishing; yes some discipline is needed, but that discipline should be through education and help, not punishment. Kids also love hugs! This could be summed up as love, admiration, communication, patience and help.

Elan Preschool has be open for 30 years in August. Through these years I have developed a curriculum for everything from academics to physical skills, social skills, the arts, and more. Through these years we have piloted and refined it, again and again. The curriculum along with a teacher trained in it produces miracles.

It's funny, for so many years we were considered to be the politically incorrect school in our area, as we taught academics. Specifically: reading, alphabet, phonics, writing, math, etc. For a few years now there has been so much concern that preschools didn't do this, and kids were failing kindergarten. It's really very easy to teach these skills. Well, maybe writing isn't so easy for many children. With patience and lots of dexterity activities they do learn. Depending on how long a child is enrolled, the reading level would be from short sentences to paragraph books. By the way, kids love learning to read. I think this is because their parents read and they know it is a grown up skill!

I hope the above is of help when you are choosing the right school for your child.


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