Yippee! You found the right preschool. But does the right preschool want your kid?
You've done the research, found a school close by with the right price, hours, and philosophy. Out of the dozens you've considered, this is the one that best fits your family.
And then they inform you, "We'll let you know."
Wait a minute, I chose you. Are you telling me that you might not want my kid?
Preschool admissions vary from school to school. Some have a first come, first served policy, where others have a lottery. You could actually apply for a lottery school 10 years early, but nothing matters until that dreaded day when they randomly choose kids out of a hat. Control freak Moms (like us) everywhere know what a nightmare that can be.Friend of Mom•Logic and clinical psychologist/preschool guide Dr. Michelle Nitka says there are a couple of tricks in getting into the chosen school.
• Is the school affiliated with a religious institution? Joining the congregation can give you an advantage in the admissions process.
• Does the preschool have a Mommy and me or toddler program? Toddler programs generally meet once a week and a parent stays with the child. These programs are an excellent way of getting to know a preschool program.
• Is the preschool connected to an private elementary school? If they know they'll have your child as a student for years to come, they may be more willing to get you in.
Moms in the office added some practical tips they've seen work too:
• "A friend of mine basically started asking every mother of a preschool-aged child that she encountered 'Where does your child go to preschool?' and was blatant about asking for referrals (even of strangers). It worked for her."
• "Show up to an event at the school--a fundraiser, party, or performance that the public is allowed to attend."
• "I have found that admissions officers are suckers for the Dad being the driving force behind the whole application process. I think my kids got in because they liked my husband."
• "Be the first to arrive. If the preschool is taking applications first come, first served, getting there bright and early is the one way to ensure your child's place. So get your coffee to go and expect to camp out for a bit."