Whether you’re a parent new to the Knoxville area or have been here for a while, you’ve probably already heard that the wait to get into many of the daycares and preschools is insane! It seems like if you don’t start your search early enough, the preschools can get full to the brim until August of the following school year. Yikes.
If you have a toddler you want to enroll in a preschool in or around Knoxville soon, here are some tips for navigating the preschool mayhem so you can be sure to get a spot at one of the preferred schools on your list:
If you have a little one under five years of age that you’ve been wanting to put into daycare or preschool, the number one tip I have for you is to start EARLY. There are so many schools to choose from in and around Knoxville, and so many that have a waitlist or special qualifications. There are Mother’s Day Out programs, nature schools, religious schools, non-religious, fine arts, Montessori schools, voluntary Pre-K, blended preschool — the list goes on.
Because there are so many different types of preschool programs, it can make narrowing down your search a bit of a challenge, which is why you’ll want to start as early as a year (or more) before you’re ready to enroll your child.
Attend a preschool fair.
If you want a comprehensive list of preschool options in and around Knoxville, a great place to start is by checking out the Knoxville Moms preschool guide to narrow down a list of schools in your area.
If you want to take it a step further, you can also attend a preschool fair like The 10th Annual West Knox Preschool & Activities Fair happening in the fall. Attending a preschool fair is a great way to collect pamphlets, talk to administrators, ask questions, and learn more about a wide variety of schools in the area face to face all in one place.
Schedule a school tour.
Several schools in and around Knoxville open up their registration at the top of the new year. However, before you are allowed to register at many schools around here, you are requested to first visit their campus or schedule a school tour. Some schools you’ll be able to visit right away, while others you may have to wait a few months until their next open house, which may only happen a few times a year. Another reason to start the preschool search early.
Look at reviews.
Sometimes the most insightful information you’ll get will come from a parent’s perspective. Look up reviews on Google and ask for recommendations from peers and in local moms groups or forums.
Get on the waitlist.
If there are schools that interest you either from what you saw on their website or heard from word of mouth, get on their waitlist. If a spot opens up, those on the waitlist will get the call. Also, those on a waitlist usually also get first priority during the registration process.
Prepare your child.
As obvious as a tip this one seems, it’s important to prepare your child for what to expect. Some preschool programs require them to be potty trained, while others require them to be able to go to the bathroom all on their own, including being able to handle it if there is an accident.