I think one of the best ways is by recommendation. It's hard to know what questions to ask, but talking to a friend, you can talk frankly about what the experience is like and you'll think of questions you wouldn't think of otherwise. If you don't have a friend with a child in preschool happy with their experience, you can still ask around on Facebook if you're on there or wherever. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to put them in school by age 3. My girls started this year (2 days a week, it's a "mother's day out" kind of program, 9-2:30) at 13 months and 2.5, because my husband's job hours changed and I needed more time to work on my grad school stuff. But I think the basic questions would be -what's the curriculum like? What's the daily schedule? How many kids per teacher? How do they accommodate whatever your specific needs are (allergies, potty training situation, etc). A good one you'll just feel in good hands.
at 8:22 PM on Mar. 5, 2010