Most experts agree that children learn more during early childhood than at just about any other point in their lives. They also are in agreement that preschool is good for kids.
Here are some benefits to academic preschool:
- Kids who go to preschool stay in school longer. Research has shown that when kids do not attend academic preschool programs are more likely to drop out of high school. At least one quarter of at risk children were found to be more likely to do this if they did not receive a decent preschool education. At least 60% of these same kids will not go on to college if they do not get that preschool education. The worst statistic is that they are more likely to be arrested if they are denied a preschool education. At least 70% are found to go to jail for the commission of a violent crime when they do not attend preschool.
- Kids get a lot out of the preschool experience. In any good academic preschool curriculum, the children are taught numbers, letters and shapes but they learn how to get along with each other. The socialization skills may trump all of the academics in terms of their importance in a child’s life. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has reported that preschool is very important for grade school readiness. They have found that children who go from preschool to kindergarten have better vocabularies, pre-reading skills. This is viewed as so important that 40 states have pre-K programs that are funded by the state.
- Children learn to start to become self-reliant. They are much too young when they are in preschool to be self-reliant but the skills they will need to get to that point later in life are started in preschool. Children are taught to start to develop their sense of self, to explore their world, take safe risk and they begin to see that they can do things for themselves and by themselves. This helps them begin to develop their confidence in themselves and trust in others. The things they do for themselves may seem small, they get their own juice and help put snacks out but these small steps lead to deciding what they want to do when they have free time to even bigger decisions about their lives. Preschool is all about exploration and learning. The small but critical steps help start them on a path that will end with them being productive members of society.
- What is the academic education like? Preschools offer a high quality education as well. While the way children are taught in preschool is a bit different from what they will experience in kindergarten and then in elementary school, teaching is happening and it makes a big difference. They are not lectured to but through play, story telling time, talking to their classmates and teachers and just being around other new people, they learn. The best way to learn language is to jump in and try it. For small children, preschool gives them the chance to do just that.
Finding the Right School for Your Child:
The ages of children in preschool goes from thee to five. The average age of kids enrolled in a preschool program is four. There are schools out there that will accept children as young and two and a half but every child is unique and yours may or may not be ready to start a preschool program at that age. Every family’s situation is different. The decision of when a child should start preschool and where they should go is dependent on the child’s temperament and the schedule of their parents. Often parents begin to look for a preschool when their children are a year away from enrolling. If you live in an urban environment where they may be more competition for space in a preschool, you may need to start looking a lot sooner than that.
Finding the right preschool is a big decision. You should talk to the other parents you know about when they put their child into preschool and how they found the right preschool for their children. If you do your research, you will be able to find the best preschool for your child.