Preschool Perception: The 5 Senses

How are you being perceived?

The 5 Senses of Perception: Quickly Assess Your School

One of the first lessons we learned when opening our schools ( was the importance of how parents and other caregivers entering and exiting our school perceived what was happening in our school throughout the day. Although most parents only spend an average of 5 minutes in our schools, twice a day, we realized that it was during those 10 minutes that they were formulating their opinions of our school, our curriculum and our staff. If parents encountered an inkling of chaos at pick-up time, then they would many times assume that there was chaos throughout the day.

So what can we do to make sure those magical 10 minutes are always perceived in the manner we want them to be?

It's all about the 5 senses...

If you pay attention to what parents see, hear, feel, smell and taste (yes, even taste) when they walk through the doors of your school, you will quickly understand how (and why) they form the perceptions they do.

So let's go over each of the traditional 5 senses and why they are so important to pay attention to:

1. Sight

Sight is incredibly important. When a parent walks through your door you want them to see: a neatly/ professionally dressed, smiling staff member or teacher, an organized entry, items playfully arranged for their child to engage in upon arrival, teachers positively interacting with other children and a clean and organized classroom. What would a parent's perception of you and your school be if they are greeted each day with a mess?

2. Smell

Smell is a sense that is easy to ignore, especially in our profession. If you have children who are potty training and/or change diapers, this is particularly important to you. Make sure that you have a procedure for taking out dirty diapers on a regular basis, and flushing toilets. Those smells tend to linger and I am sure you don't want them around any longer than they need to be. Another tip; install some "scentsy like" plug-ins in safe (and strategic places) throughout your school. A pleasing smell will make a great impression on your parents. During the holiday season it is also fun to have some mulled spices on the stove (safely away from students of course). They fill your school with an amazing smell and conjure images of home for both students and parents.

3. Sound

Our sense of hearing is just as important as sight and smell. When parents walk into your school, what do they hear? Are children (and teachers) yelling? Is there an abundance of noise? When walking into a school parents should hear: soft music playing in the background (something fitting to the time of day), the murmur of the soft voices of children engaged in the learning process, and maybe even the kind voice of a teacher comforting a child who is missing their mommy. If parents are arriving while you are playing outside with your class, then parents will want to hear: laughter, shrieks of joy and appropriate preschool banter. Always make sure that parents are being greeted by a teacher or staff member when they walk through your doors. A quick, "Hello! How are you?" will create a lasting positive impact.

4. Touch

That's right! Our sense of touch is also incredibly important. Think about everything a parent touches when dropping off and signing in a child; a pen, a counter, a cubby, a door knob... and the list goes on. These surfaces should be wiped down daily (if not more often). Not only will parents love how clean your school feels, but you will be helping to keep those pesky germs away too!

5. Taste

You may be thinking to yourself, "Taste? How does taste come into play?" Well, think about it... what could you do in your school to ensure that parents have a pleasant "taste" experience in your school? Many of you may already provide coffee or hot cocoa to your parents in the morning. Or maybe you have a lovely tray of bagels or fruit available for parents as they head out to work. Parents will look forward to coming into your school each and every morning and enjoying a quick yummy bite or a warm cup of coffee to go.

Our five senses are amazing tools for us to take advantage of. They can help us provide an environment that is pleasing to our staff, teachers, students and parents. As you move through your day pay attention to your senses. Talk with your teachers about what you could do to make sure those magical 10 minutes that parents are in your schools the most appealing moments of their day.

Remember, how parents perceive you and your school is all up to YOU.

Want to see a preschool in action?

Scroll down and view the video of a student's morning drop-off at preschool. It's just a minute long and may give you a good starting point for conversations with staff and teachers.

Questions? Comments? I would love to hear them! Just shoot me an e-mail at!

Did you get a chance to read our last newsletter?

If you didn't, don't worry, you still can! Here is the link to view the latest: FEL Newsletter: October 15th. Our last newsletter was all about the Common Core being implemented in schools around the U.S. and had a little more info. about who we are and FEL. Just click on the link to get all caught up!

Thank you for all YOU do for children!

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~William Yeats

Learn more about Fusion!

Visit our website or FEL on facebook to learn more about our schools and curriculum. It's an approach to early learning that leaves students excited and engaged in the world around them using a method uniquely our own. Looking forward to connecting with you all soon!

madison's first day of preschool

First Day of Preschool Video

I found this short video through a search on YouTube. Unfortunately, I was not able to find the name of the school. It is a great example of what preschools and centers should be doing during drop-off times. This mom and her daughter were greeted at the door in a calm and caring way. There are also many things available for Madison to engage in as she enters the classroom.

A couple things to think about after watching:

1. What do you think this parent's PERCEPTION is of this school?

2. If a parent videoed your school or center what would the outcome be?