Last summer, we were considering moving to Jakarta, Indonesia. Part of the decision making process involved a hunt for preschools. Here is a self-created list of questions that personally helped me determine which schools were a better fit for us than others.
Please feel free to use this as a guide while touring prospective preschools and do let me know if there are any additional questions you think should be added to this list. If you’re wondering why I asked some of these, feel free to comment or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks for reading and please do take the time to subscribe if you’d like to see more posts like this.
What is the school’s teaching philosophy?
When was it established? Is it a franchise?
Who designs or determines their curriculum?
What is their teaching method? Is it mostly directed? Do the kids have any opportunity for free play?
Do they use worksheets? At what age do they give the kids homework?
How do they track the children’s progress? Will parents be able to see this?
How do they handle children who have a hard time following instructions or listening?
Do they have a transition plan for children who may have a rough time adjusting?
How do they handle children who might bite or hit another child? Are the parents notified? Do they have a logbook to keep track of this type of thing?
What is the student to teacher ratio? How many students are in a classroom?
Are all the adults in the classroom typically teachers or do they have nannies/helpers?
How long have the teachers been there? Do they sign a contract to ensure that they don’t leave before the end of the school year?
Are there parent teacher conferences? Are the teachers available for discussions about the child’s individual progress or potential struggles?
What is the criteria to becoming a teacher at the school? Do they have to have a degree in early childhood development or education or are they trained in house?
Do they have specialist teachers or visiting teachers for subjects like Mandarin, Music, or Dance?
Do they have a playground?
Do they have a library or any other special rooms or facilities that set them apart from other preschools?
How many restrooms are there? How far is the restroom from the classroom? Do they have large toilets or small toilets? Are the children accompanied to the restroom by an adult?
Is there a waiting area for parents or nannies?
What sort of learning materials do they use? Do they have a wide variety of play based learning tools for children in the classrooms?
Do they own the building or rent?
Do the children have access to screen time while at school?
FOOD, HEALTH, & EXTRAS
Do they provide snack and lunch or do the parents have to pack a daily lunch?
If it’s provided by the school, what does the menu look like? Is it nutritious? Do they accommodate dietary restrictions and/or allergies?
Do they teach a second language? Which? Are they taught by native speakers?
Do they offer extracurricular activities? Which? Are they included in the cost of tuition?
Are all the teachers certified in CPR and/or First Aid? Is there an in-house nurse?
What is their policy for sick kids? Do they check the children’s temperature prior to coming in?
Do the kids take field trips? Where to? Are they included in the price? What type of transportation do they use? Are parents or nannies expected to and/or allowed to join?
What is their protocol in case of a medical emergency? Do they always have a vehicle and driver ready to transport any children to the hospital? Who accompanies the child(ren)? Which hospital do they take the children to?
What is their sign in/sign out policy? Are parents and/or nannies given a badge and is there some method to ID the person who picks up the child?
What happens if nobody who is on the previously approved list is able to pick up the child?
Where do children wait when parents or nannies are late for pick up? Who stays with them?
Are drop offs and pick ups inside a secure and gated area?
Are there security guards? How/where were they trained?
Are there CCTVs inside and outside of the school? Are there CCTVs near/around restrooms?
Is the parking lot private or shared?
Do they have a plan set in place for bomb threats, abduction, intruders?
Do they hold fire and earthquake drills with the children? How frequently?
Are children able to try out at the school? For how long? Will parents be allowed to observe?
Do they expect all children to be potty trained? If not, who changes diapers and where?
Are parents expected to sign a contract that commits their children to the school for a period of time? How much advance notice do they need prior to withdrawal?
Do they have a part time program or do all children have to attend 5 days a week? Do they provide any options for after care?
I will be posting a downloadable comparison table to show the key differences between the schools that my then 3-year-old daughter tried out at while in Jakarta. The list of these schools include Bambino Cipete, Discovery Menteng, EtonHouse, HighScope Simatupang, HighScope Kelapa Gading, Jakarta World Academy, Leap Schoolhouse, Mighty Minds Hang Tuah, and Royal Tots Academy. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about any of the above preschools, feel free to contact me!