What to look for in a preschool???

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2006
What to look for in a preschool???
Mon, 01-31-2011 - 7:21pm

A little background...my 3 year old DS does not have a DX but we've had several therapists mention "autistic-like characteristics". He is very verbal with a large vocabulary but is overwhelmed in social settings and tends to go off on his own. He is also very "bossy" with adults and aggressive with peers.

DS currently attends a community preschool but I do not feel settled about it. His teachers feel overwhelmed by him and one teacher in particular seems to be very set in her old-school ways which often causes a butting of heads between her and DS (and me). She goes so far as to roll her eyes when I suggest ways to handle DS in certain situations. She has also been very negative about therapists who have observed DS in his school setting.

Knowing this isn't a great fit for DS and I, I've begun the search for a new school. I feel awful about pulling him out of a place he is now comfortable in because he has no idea they are not meeting his needs, but I feel it's best.

Ok, now my question...what should I be looking for in a preschool?? Therapists say structured is best but structured and therapeutic preschools all seem to be either subsidized or way our of area and in southern CA it is just not feasible to commute to a preschool more than 15 miles away. It could take an hour to get there! How can I compromise but still feel good about DS's success? Is it the teachers? The curriculum? The ratio? Any help would be appreciated. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2011
Wed, 02-02-2011 - 1:26am
Hi there! What part of town are you in? We are in San Diego, East county. I have a great referral for a school here. My son exhibited a lot of the same things early on. We are now told he is "highly probable" aspergers and has Sensory Integration Disorder. We are in a high teacher student ratio. It is 1:5 where we go and a go with the flow atmosphere. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Feel out a few places and see what feels right.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
Tue, 02-01-2011 - 4:03pm
I'm not sure, but I'm hearing you! It was hard for me to feel comfortable with my daughter going to preschool. If you're in the States, your son could qualify for preschool through the school district. This year was nice for my daughter, there were only 4 children at the beginning of the school year. They gradually got more, but it wasn't a huge shock on her (she has a little sensory overload/ shyness).

If you're talking about an all day every day daycare type of of preschool, that's tricky. When my DS AS was little he went to a daycare that was way too busy for him, but we took him out and put him into a private home with only a couple other kids, and it made all the difference.

I'm not sure how to help but good luck!
Avatar for hokie1999
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 02-01-2011 - 9:28am

Good ratios are very important. I was the only teacher in a 10 child classroom and it was hard. Not awful but for any sort of involved project the children are running free while the teacher is occupied with a few students. So make sure there are at least 2 teachers per room.

My biggest thing has been listening to my gut feeling on schools. If you don't feel right about it turn around and try somewhere else. I have scratched schools off my list within minutes of meeting a teacher or seeing a small interaction with a child. The right place is out there, and it will be one that doesn't see your child's vocabulary and need to be alone as a negative but as gifts.

I hope you can find one that you and your son will love!

I also want to add that if you're not crazy about how the current one is handling him then even though he may seem happy he will do better in another school.