Choosing the right age to start preschool and finding the right program can throw parents into a frenzy. 

News 8 took a ride to Strong Start Early Care & Education in Trumbull, where Scott McDonnell met with Patricia Reinhard, one of Connecticut’s most well respect consultants on early childhood education. 

“I see parent anxiety is becoming very much an increasing issue,” said Reinhard. 

Now more than ever, parents are concerned their kids do not fall behind socially and developmentally. 

Pre-K programs usually start around 3-years-old. 

Reinhard says the trend now is to also include two-year old’s in a toddler or two’s program. 

Will a child fall behind if not in a two’s program? 

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Probably not, as long as they are getting engaged at home. 

“What’s important is that a child is given a lot of opportunity to learn, to be exposed to alot of good language,” said Reinhard. 

What do you look for when picking the right school? 

Start with health and safety. 

Find out if the facility is licensed and licensed in good standing. 

“Most programs are very compliant; however, we do have programs that have long term problems, they have a history on non-compliance, said Reinhard. 

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You can find out by contacting the Connecticut Department of Early Childhood Education. 

Reinhard also believes it’s important to find a preschool program that matches your family’s beliefs. 

“It’s important to find out what and how they are being taught – that’s really curriculum,” said Reinhard. 

For example, the school News 8 visited, Strong Start Early Care & Education in Trumbull follows the Reggio Emilia standard. 

Learning is driven by the child’s interests, there is an investment in the staff and lots of space for the children. 

When it comes to financially limited households, look for pre-school subsidies. 

Some can be substantial. 

“There are some top-notch programs that all under school readiness grants,” said Reinhard. 

Options are out there, so your kids are not priced out of great pre-school programs. 

“Also we have care for kids in Connecticut which will provide subsidies for parents that are working and need childcare,” said Reinhard. 

Whatever direction you decide to take, the most effective way to prepare your child is to read to them often, engage them in conversation and expose them to enriching experiences.