Preschool Child and Parent Interview Handout

Student Interview

As part of the admissions process, most nursery schools will schedule an interview with your child. Typically, the director, a staff member or teacher will observe your child in a play group session with a few other children of the same age who are probably also applicants. Your child may be asked to join a class in which the teacher may ask her/him to draw a picture or complete a task. Depending on the school, parents may or may not be allowed to be present.

The director or staff will observe your child’s developmental level to decide if he or she is a good fit for the school. More specifically, they will observe:

  • How well the child separates from you.
  • How your child responds to the teacher (i.e., follows instructions).
  • How your child interacts with other children.
  • Your child’s cognitive ability.

At least a week before the interview, ask a school administrator what the visit will be like for your child. The day before the interview:

  • Tell your child that he or she will be visiting a school the following day and relay the information that you were told regarding what might happen during the visit. If the school does not provide clear instructions, tell your child that he or she will probably be playing with other children for about an hour.
  • Tell your child that an adult may ask her/him to draw a picture or complete a task.
  • Tell your child that you will do something special after the session.
  • Dress them in appropriate, yet comfortable clothing. If the school has a dress code, dress them as formally as required. If the school does not have a dress code, informal clothing is adequate. If you are unclear about the dress code, go to the school’s website to see how the students are dressed.
  • If only one parent brings the child to the nursery school, select the parent from whom the child has the easiest time separating.


Parent Interview

Nursery schools prefer that both parents visit their school. Although the directors will be focusing on your child, they will also interview the parents for about 20 minutes. To prepare for the interview, you should read as much about the school as possible, by visiting their website as well as reading their brochure. In addition, bring some questions to ask the interviewer. This is the best time to learn about the school and demonstrate that you have done your homework and are familiar with various aspects of the school.  

You may be interviewed by the school’s director, director of admissions or a teacher. They may ask you specific or very general questions (i.e., Tell me about your child). The best strategy is to answer them as honestly as possible. They may ask you some of the following questions.

  • When did your child start talking?
  • When did your child start walking?
  • When did you stop weaning your child?
  • What do you do with your child during the evenings/weekends?
  • What and how often do you read with your child?

Since the interview is a two-way process, you will also be expected to ask the interviewer some questions. Although you will probably only have time to ask five to ten questions, here is a list of questions that you might want to ask:

Educational Philosophy

  • What will students of your child’s age study?
  • How does your school handle the separation process?
  • How many hours of homework does the typical student have each week per grade?
  • How are students advised throughout their tenure at the school?
  • Does the school foster a nurturing or competitive environment?
  • If your child has a particular interest or hobby (i.e., art, music, sports), ask about the school’s offerings in that area.

Teacher Quality

  • What is the student-teacher ratio per grade?
  • How many teachers are in each room?
  • What are the academic credentials and average tenure of the faculty?
  • How diverse is the faculty?
  • How often do faculty contact parents?


  • What type of professional development do you offer faculty?
  • How does the school handle disciplinary issues?
  • What kind of counseling and support is offered?
  • How does the school encourage parents to get involved in the school?
  • How often and how does the school communicate with the family regarding your child’s academic and/or behavioral progress?


  • Where do graduates go to school?
  • What is the attrition rate?

Tips for Parent Interviews

  • Both parents should attend.
  • Dress professionally and turn off your cell phones.
  • Prepare for the interview by reviewing all available school material and the school’s website.
  • To allow you to compare schools, ask the same questions at every school.
  • If your child has a strong talent or interest, ask to meet with the appropriate teacher or coach.
  • If your child has a disability, make sure that the school can accommodate these special needs.