6 Questions To Ask When Picking Your Child’s Preschool

Choosing a preschool for your toddler is a huge decision. There are a many different options available and you want to make sure you pick the best environment for your child to thrive and grow as they develop and get ready for their future! When you go in to visit a preschool, you want to be prepared with questions to ask that may not be obvious at the very beginning besides just location, costs and hours. At Pine Village Preschool, we love helping parents figure out the best place for their child, so we’ve put together a few essential questions to ask when you are choosing your child’s preschool.


What is the educational philosophy of the preschool?  Do they follow a particular methodology or pedagogy? 

It is important to understand how a preschool approaches early childhood learning.  Does it align with your values as parents?  Does the school advocate strict learning practices or a play-based environment?  Its important to understand their approach so that you can be sure your child will feel comfortable in their new environment, so that learning and growth can happen in a developmentally appropriate way.


How often do the children go outside?  Is there an onsite playground?  Where do they go if there is not one available?

Gross motor activities are crucial for young children.  Children should have opportunities to run, jump and climb every day for at least an hour in the morning an hour every afternoon.  Fresh air and sunshine and outdoor exploration are essential for happy healthy children.  If the children travel to a playground offsite, be sure to ask about how they get there, how long they stay and if they provide water for the children.  You need to feel confident that your children are in a safe environment and that the playground is appropriate for young children.


What is the health care policy for sick children?

What is their definition of a sick child?  When are they permitted to return to school?  Does the school send sick children home?  How do they provide for a healthy environment? Make sure that you understand these expectations up front so that you’re not surprised when this issue arises in the future.


How do the teachers handle discipline in the classrooms?

Its important to understand how your child we be guided through their social and emotional development.  These lessons are the ones that will stick with them for years to come.  Its vital that you understand how the teachers will support your child if he or she is having a rough time.  How do they deal with aggressive children?  How do they handle conflicts in the classroom?  Does the school follow a specific program?  DO they use Time Out?  Do their practices align with ours at home.  Its important that you are all on the same page with respect to guidance and discipline.


Is there open communication between parents and teachers?  Do they hold annual Parent Conferences?

You will want to feel comfortable with the level of communication.  Do you want daily notes or a weekly newsletter? Do you want to see photos of your child throughout the day? Do you want to know what your child accomplished each day in detail?  Its important to understand their policies on communication and be sure that you are comfortable with how and when you will hear from your teachers.


What is the educational background and experience of the teachers and staff?  Does the school have any additional credentials (NAEYC or QRIS)

All teachers should hold certificates from the Department of Early Education and Care.  Ask if there are lead teachers in each classroom.  Inquire if some teachers hold higher degrees and how the program supports professional development.  Understanding the level of  importance the program puts on teacher credentials and professional development will give you a good idea of the level of professionalism and quality programing your child will receive.


We are always available to talk more about choosing the best preschool for your child. Contact us today!

Spanish Tip of the Week: Playdough

Just in time for summer break, we’re sharing our Spanish Tip of the Week – PLAYDOUGH


Hay muchísimos beneficios para el desarrollo del niño cuando están usando Plastilina. Aquí compartimos algunos de ellos: There are many benefits for your child’s development when they’re using PLAYDOUGH.

Here we’re sharing just some of them:

  • It helps to gain control over hand and arm movements which improves coordination
  • Modeling and using cutters & rollers is great for muscle development
  • Play dough is a natural outlet through which children can express their emotions
  • Cooperative play and dramatic play can be seen when children use play dough
  • Discussing what has been made helps build communication skills and develops imagination
  • Dividing it up can be used to help children learn about numbers and counting
  • Playing with dough with others helps children understand the importance of sharing
  • Receiving praise and compliments for their “creation” helps children develop their self-esteem and confidence
  • Play dough can be used as therapy for special-needs children

Aquí están algunas de nuestras recetas favoritas! Here are some of our favorite recipes! Be sure to store it in an AIR TIGHT container or plastic bag!


Traditional Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • food coloring
  • Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Will last for a long time.


Kool-Aid® Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and Kool-Aid® in a medium pot. Add water and oil. Stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes. When mixture forms a ball in pot, remove. Knead until smooth. Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate. 


    Bouncy Play Dough

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Place ingredients in bowl and mix with a fork. Place mixture in saucepan and bring to boiling on medium heat. Cook stirring constantly with a spoon until thick. Let cool.

Sean creativas con los materiales que les proveen con la plastilina! Be creative with the materials that you provide them to use with the Playdough!

  • birthday candles
  • bottle caps
  • milk jug caps
  • cookie cutters
  • feathers
  • garlic press
  • large buttons
  • leaves
  • pebbles
  • plastic knives, spoons, forks
  • plastic toy people and animals
  • rolling pin or bottle
  • straws
  • tea strainer
  • string or shoelacesSpanish phrases to use when working with Playdough:
  • Describe what the child is doing: Estás mesclando los colores. Veo que has hecho un dinosaurio. Estás jugando con plastilina amarilla.
  • Describe what you are doing: Estoy pinchando la plastilina. La corto con un cuchillo. Me gusta la plastilina morada.

Top 5 Myths About Spanish Immersion Preschool Education


When we founded Pine Village Preschool in Boston in early 2001, the mere suggestion of immersing young preschool aged children in a multicultural bilingual environment (with the intention of introducing Spanish as a second language) caused widespread panic (well not quite that severe!).  Fast forward to today and the information highway is jammed with studies and statistics demonstrating the vast array of benefits of bilingualism as well as introducing that second language in the early childhood years.

Today there are dozens of preschools introducing second language components to their programs, as well as elementary school systems offering dual language options for ESLs as well as native English speakers. The benefits of dual language and immersion education have resonated with many parents around the US. However, there are still some common myths about immersion education that we’d like to clear up on the blog today. Let’s start with some background context:

What is Immersion?

Immersion is defined as a method of foreign language instruction in which the regular preschool curriculum is taught through a second language (in our case, Spanish). In other words, our teachers speak 100% Spanish throughout the day to communicate with the children; we don’t teach children Spanish vocabulary.

Myths Vs. Reality

Myth 1: My Child Won’t Understand What’s Going on In the Classroom

Reality: At Pine Village Preschool, our top concern is the child (As we’d imagine with most schools, though we can only comment on ours). We would NEVER let children feel lost because of a language barrier! That being said, we find that most kids do great in an immersion setting and pick the language up very quickly. The majority of the time we find that kids will prompt another child in English to translate or help them understand the Spanish meanings. It’s amazing to see!

Myth 2: Spanish Immersion Education is for Non-English Native Speakers

Reality: English, Spanish, German, French…we have a variety of main languages spoken at the homes of our children, which seems to be the case for most preschool immersion programs. At Pine Village, the majority of our families (about 70%) are primarily English speakers at home. We find that most families want their children to be exposed to a second language in the most natural and comfortable way, and that’s why they choose an immersion language preschool.

Myth 3: My child will not learn enough English

Reality: One of the most common myths we hear about Spanish immersion preschool education is that parents are afraid that their children won’t develop the English speaking skills they need. However, think about how much time they spend outside of the classroom! If this were true, children raised in bilingual households would all have delayed speech, which is certainly not the case whatsoever. Children will develop English skills from their peers (in and outside of the classroom), in their environment, from the media, at home, and in every other aspect of their lives. They are constantly exposed to it, and living in an English-speaking environment is enough for the children to be bilingual in both languages.

Myth 4: My Child Will Fall Behind Academically

Reality: Spanish isn’t what we are teaching – it is the instrument in which we deliver our preschool education. Therefore, if you are thinking about enrolling at a Spanish Immersion preschool, consider their academic philosophy along with their mission and vision to determine the level of academic growth the preschool can provide for your child. We can’t speak for other Spanish immersion programs, but at Pine Village we follow a Piaget-based model of emergent curriculum. We provide structure for learning through play and meaningful experiences and activities. Our Mission is to educate and nurture each child’s individuality within a culturally diverse, bilingual community so that every child develops a true passion for learning and an ability to engage in any environment and community.

Myth 5: It’s Not Worthwhile Because We Don’t Speak Spanish At Home

Reality: Even if you as a parent speak zero Spanish at home, your child will be learning in the classroom. You can always help to develop these habits through fun ways, like having your child teach you! Children love telling you about they did at school and showing you what they learned. In most immersion schools, parents are communicated with in their main language, so they don’t feel as though they are left out!


Whatever you choose, it’s always a great idea to introduce new languages to children at a young age! Want to learn more about Spanish Immersion education? Check out the Resources on our website or contact us to chat more about what it could mean for your child to attend Pine Village.