Preschool in Chesapeake: What You Need to Know

Two toddlers, who participate in preschool in Chesapeake, VA, sit on the grass. The younger one, who is wearing a purple dress, sits on her sister's lap.

A Guide to Finding a Preschool in Chesapeake, VA

As a former first grade teacher, I cannot stress enough how important early childhood education is for ALL children. Not only does it help build the foundations for your child’s academic success, but it also teaches them important social and emotional skills. Luckily, there are a variety of options to choose from, both public and private. This blog post will take you step by step through the process of choosing the right preschool in Chesapeake, VA for your family’s, and your child’s needs.


Research Preschool Options

The process of finding the right preschool can be overwhelming. A quick search will show you that Chesapeake has a variety of options available. It is best to make a list of your priorities, before you begin your search. Are you interested in full-day or half-day programs? Do you want your child to be in school five days a week, or just a few? Do you want a private school or are you thinking about looking into the public school options? What educational philosophies do you value? Are you looking for a religious or non-religious based school? Does location play into the decision at all? Once you have a clearer picture of what you are searching for you will be able to more easily narrow down your possibilities.


Schedule Tours

Once you have a list of your top contenders, you will want to reach out to each preschool to schedule a tour. Seeing the facility, yourself, will give you a firsthand look at the experience your child may have at that particular school. During your visit to the school, ask questions about everything that is important to you. Interact with the staff and observe how they engage with the children. If you are allowed to bring your child on the tour with you, watch for their reactions. Do they seem comfortable? How is the staff interacting with them?


You should also pay close attention to the facility itself, noting how child-friendly and safe the environment seems. Ask about the school’s safety protocols, staff-to-child ratios, emergency procedures, and any other security measures they may have in place. A safe environment will ensure that your child can learn, play, and explore without unnecessary risks.

Examine the Curriculum and Educational Approach

A strong educational foundation is crucial to your child’s growth and academic success in the future. When touring the schools, ask if you can see examples of the curriculum they use with students. You will want to choose a school that uses developmentally appropriate curricula, fostering creativity, critical thinking, and social and emotional skills. This can be accomplished through play-based learning or a more structed academic approach. Either way, the Virginia Department of Education has a set of standards that they require licensed preschools to meet each year with their students. Ensure that the preschools you look at are meeting these standards, regardless of their educational approach. That way, you will be able to choose the educational philosophy that makes the most sense for your child, knowing they are still learning all that they can.


Ask About the Role of Parents

Research has shown that children benefit when parents are actively involved in their education. You should choose a preschool that makes an effort to actively involve the parents. How this looks will be different according to the needs of your family, but you can find schools that send home daily or weekly reports, hold parent-teacher conferences, plan parent events, and even encourage parent volunteers. You will need to figure out what is important to you, and how the preschool fits into that. As a photographer, I look for preschools that value capturing those memories for me! Do they hire a photographer to do school pictures? Do they send home pictures of my child involved in classroom activities? Ask yourself these kinds of questions when choosing the preschool that is right for you and your child.


Read Reviews and Testimonials

Once you have narrowed down to your top choices, it can be helpful to find out what other parents think of the school. Read reviews online, ask family and friends, reach out to other parents in local parenting groups. Although their experiences and children will be different from your own, reviews are still a valuable resource. A school that has a slew of bad reviews and first-hand experiences is likely one you do not want your child to attend. Pay close attention to these reviews and judge whether they are genuine. Although reviews will not be the only reason you choose or don’t choose a school, they can help you make an informed decision.

Public vs Private Preschool in Chesapeake, VA

Lastly, I wanted to take a quick moment to touch on the difference between public and private preschools. Chesapeake Public Schools, like other public schools around the country, offers a preschool program. If your child meets certain criteria, they will be able to receive preschool and other services through the local public schools. However, you may be wondering what the options are if your child does not meet the eligibility requirements. Chesapeake also offers a program called Reverse Mainstreaming. This special program allows your child to be accepted to the preschool program as a peer model, while building their own social and academic skills. There is limited space in the program and a tuition associated with it, just like private preschools.


Preschool in Chesapeake, VA

Finding the right preschool for your child might feel like an overwhelming task. However, if you approach the search with a clear idea of what you are looking for, you will find the task much more manageable. Be sure to ask yourself what your priorities are when creating a list of top contenders. Take in to consideration location, curriculum, parent involvement, whether or not you want a religious focus, and what other parents are saying. Once you have found the right preschool in Chesapeake, VA, you will be taking a huge step towards setting your child up for future success. Way to go!


As a family photographer, I appreciate the significance of these early moments that have such an impact on a child’s future. As moms, we want to preserve these precious memories with our children. If you are interested in booking a family session with me, I would love to hear from you! Reach out today and let’s get you on my schedule.


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