Picking the perfect preschool is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. It sets the tone for a child's educational foundation. 

So where do you start? How do you know which preschool suits your child's needs best? Here's a checklist and questions to ask, to help parents navigate this first step in a child's lifelong journey of learning.

-Begin a year in advance
-Tour several schools
-Participate in Mommy and Me classes
-Attend preschool fairs

Know the philosophy of the school
-Is the preschool Play based or academic? Is there a combo?
-What is the philosophy on discipline? Is it in line with your discipline at home?
-Is the school's curriculum in line with current educational research?

Learning the ABC’s and 123s

-Is the school incorporating the building blocks for kindergarten readiness?
-Are kids learning their ABC's and 123's through stories, singing and games?
-Are ABC's and 123's displayed for children to see?

Play time
-Research indicates that children learn via play. Is play a part of the curriculum?
-Play allows for creativity, imagination and socialization.

Teachers and parents: What's the vibe?
-How do the teachers interact with children? Are they asking the children questions? Are they engaging the children? Are they loving?

Trust your gut
-Only you, as the parent, knows what's best for your child. Is your child happy, safe and learning?

Check out PEL, The Parents Education League. It serves as a great resource for parents who want to learn everything they can about preschool.