Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tips for Taking the Challange Out of Finding the Right Preschool

From the stories I heard from friends and the comments I read on the mommy message boards, finding a new child care/preschool for my daughter was not only going to be a challange, but perhaps even torturous. After ignoring my maternal instinct long enough that it was time for my daughter to move on from her current child care situation (a pit in your stomach each time you drop off and pick up your kid is a pretty good message from your own Internal Guidance System that it's not the right match anymore), I prepared myself for what I had convinced myself would be a long, frustrating and tedious process of finding a new school.

With an attitude like that, it's no surprise that that is just how my experience began.

I wanted the prefect place to just magically appear one day, but from what I was told, that is just not how preschool shopping goes around here . I started asking around, I called a few places, and eventually I visited a few places. Each time there were things I liked and things I didn't; sometimes it was more of a feeling that it wasn't right then anything else. There was even one place that I really wanted it to be the "right" so badly that I went back to observe twice. After witnessing a near disastrous bathroom situation with twelve 3-year-olds, I walked out of the building in tears that I would need to yet try again.

After a few hours of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to apply my own coaching techniques and what I know about the Law of Attraction to help me make this frustrating process much more enjoyable and easier.

I am happy to say that in less then a week we found the perfect place for my daughter. It's not a place that is heavily advertised in the area. In fact, it had not come up on any of my previous searches I did for area preschools and I hadn't even heard of it until a friend mentioned that her friend's children went there. Once I looked into the place, nearly everyone I mentioned it to either had children who had gone there, were going there or knew someone whose kids were going there. Which is particularly amazing considering they only take twelve kids at one time! My daughter's transition to her new school two weeks ago has been seamless and I drop her off and pick her up each day with a feeling of joy, peace and gratitude.

Below are some tips for taking the challange out of finding the right preschool or day care for your child.

1. Focus on what you want, not what you don't want:
This is the fundamental principle behind the Law of Attraction. What you focus on is what you get. The more I focused on the process of finding a school being challenging, frustrating and hard work, that's exactly what I experienced. As soon as I shifted my perspective and got very clear about what it was we really, really wanted for our daughter, it really did just magically show up.

2. Get really, really clear as to what you want:
Sit down with your spouse or partner and make your wish list for the most ideal place for your child. Paint a picture of what the place will look and feel like. Think in as much detail as possible and consider questions such as:
  • What is the size of the place? How many children? How many teachers?
  • How do the teachers/child care providers treat the children?
  • How far away is the place from your house?
  • What's the price range?
  • What's the ideal schedule for your family? How many days? How long each day?
  • What type of activities would you like them to offer?
  • What type of outdoor space do they have?
  • How do they handle communication between teachers and parents?
  • What is the primary learning philosophy? Play-based, Montessori, something else?
  • What's the interaction like between parents?
  • What is the age range of the children?
3. Know your deal-breakers: Creating your wish list is a key part to easily finding the right place. However, just like many wish lists, some items on the list carry a heavier weight then others. Prioritize your list and indicate which items are essential (i.e. the deal-breakers). Know which items must match up with the place in order for it be a clear YES.

4. Spread the word:
Once you have a clear picture as to what you want, tell as many people as you can what you are looking for. Let the options come to you as opposed to thinking you have to go on a mission to find the places yourself. The clearer you are as to what you are looking for, the easier it will be for people to pass along places they know about.

5. Pay attention to what you hear and feel:
Trust your own Internal Guidance System when talking to others about possibilities and when you start contacting places to interview. Listen to what is said, but also be aware of what is not said and what your gut instinct is telling you.

6. Check places against your deal-breakers:
Don't waste your time going to look at places that do not meet your essential list. Interview the owner, director or child care provider over the phone before scheduling a tour or meeting them face-to-face. It's too easy to lose sight of your deal-breakers when you are in the midst of viewing a place or meetings someone in person and your emotions of wanting it to be the right place or person kick in...only to find out later that they don't have space for the days you need or their pick-up time is too early for schedule.

7. Take some action, but don't force it to happen:
Taking inspired action is also a key component of helping the Law of Attraction work in your favor. But there's a difference between inspired action that comes from doing the previous steps versus taking action out of fear that you won't find something. Take action that keeps you feeling positive about the process. If you start feeling negative, take a break and recommit to your intention of this being an easy and enjoyable process and reconnect to your vision of what you want.

8. Trust:
There are many great preschools, child care facilities and nannies out there. Your perfect match will show up. Don't settle for anything less then what's on your essentials list or that doesn't feel right to you. If you do, there's good chance you'll be back doing this same search sooner then you'd like.

No comments: