Preschool is often the first investment parents will make in their child's education. From choosing the right program to coping with separation anxiety, Smart Start helps parents identify and select the best preschool for their child. Here we have a review of this book from one of Myria's readers, who is a mom just like you. Then read an excerpt from Smart Start and learn why playing with blocks may help your child pass an advanced physics class in high school!
Smart Start begins by describing the many different types of preschools. It defines and compares the two most common preschool education philosophies (Piaget and Montessori) and gives examples of typical activities in both settings. It also discusses these philosophies in conjunction with religious affiliated schools, full and part-time programs and parent cooperatives along with pros and cons of each.
Possibly the most helpful section is the chapter on choosing a preschool. It covers the things to look for while visiting the school (a full page of things to observe in the teacher); questions to ask the teachers and director; and things to be wary of (safety and security, cleanliness).
The section "What's Happening at School?" is informative as well as very interesting with explanations of what children learn while involved in specific preschool activities -- cooking, outdoor play, etc. Also included in this chapter are tips on getting your child to talk about what he/she did at school.
An important chapter, and something that is often overlooked, is the one regarding the parent-school relationship. It stresses the importance of parental involvement through parent-teacher conferences, arrival and departure times, and resolving conflict. It also offers suggestions for volunteering or sharing talents or hobbies with the kids along with parental classroom etiquette. Working parents will appreciate the suggestions for becoming involved during non-school hours.
There was a part of the appendix which seemed almost silly. It was "Web Sites for Parent Support Groups" and listed a mere three sites! Why even add it? Oddly, "websites for parents of preschoolers" is listed as one of the highlights on the book's back cover.