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Why Is Preschool So Important?

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    The importance of preschool is often debated. Many parents wonder if it is worth the time, effort, and money to put their child in a preschool setting. 

    There are many benefits that come from putting your child into a preschool environment. The most important benefit of attending preschool is socialization with other children. 

    Studies have shown that children who attend preschool are more likely to be successful academically later on in life because they have developed better social skills than those who did not go to school until kindergarten or older. 

    They also tend to be more popular among peers and friends as well as less shy around adults and strangers which can lead to increased self-esteem over time.

    There is more and more scientific research that clearly indicates the existence of a sensitive period in the development of the brain in the early stages of human life, which determines the optimal development of the cerebral cortex.

    With the growth of scientific research, knowledge about child development is also slowly increasing in society. 

    This knowledge is very important when deciding whether a child should stay at home until the age when they have to start compulsory school education, or rather send them to preschool, and if parents choose the second option, which institution to choose.

    At preschool, children build a strong foundation in social, pre-academic, and general life skills that will give them a leg up in school and beyond. 

    Research shows that children who graduate from preschool have improved academic readiness, lower incarceration rates, and higher earnings.

    Reasons Why Preschool Is Important

    Preschool Teaches Children How To Be Learners

    Young children learn by playing. If a child’s first introduction to classroom learning is in an overly academic environment, they may fail to develop a strong sense of curiosity and be turned off from school.

    Preschool provides opportunities for children to learn in ways that interest them, building a positive association with learning. 

    The best preschool helps children develop a drive to learn that they will take with them throughout their time in school.

    Preschool Helps Children Develop Social Skills

    At preschool, children spend extended amounts of time with other children and adults outside their families. 

    The environment provides plenty of opportunities to learn how to make friends, cooperate, listen, and build foundational conversation skills.

    Children Develop Self-regulation Skills Through “Teachable Moments” And Other Interactions At Preschool

     When children play and engage in activities with their peers, there will almost inevitably be minor conflicts that bring frustration, anger, and other emotional challenges. These conflicts provide opportunities for “teachable moments.” 

    Teachers can encourage children to notice how their behavior impacts others and practice interpersonal problem-solving skills. 

    Preschool graduates leave class with emotional skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

    Preschool Activities Boost Pre-literacy Skills

    At preschool, teachers offer a variety of games and activities that help children build pre-literacy skills. 

    Children sing alphabet songs, learn rhymes that help them distinguish between sounds, listen to read-aloud stories, and play with magnetic alphabet letters.

    In addition to learning these foundations, children often develop a sense of excitement and motivation to continue learning. 

    Preschool pre-literacy learning takes place during activities that are inherently interesting to children, which builds positive associations with reading.

    Preschool Builds A Foundation For Math

     Preschool doesn’t teach children math before they’re ready, but it does build the foundations for future success through fun activities and guided play. 

    Children often play matching, sorting, or counting games, as well as board games that help students develop an understanding of numbers and categories.

    The Preschool Environment Nurtures Children’s Creativity And Curiosity

    Young children have active imaginations, and those imaginations can be nurtured to fuel learning and creativity. The preschool environment is set up to encourage exploration.

    Preschool teachers are trained to help children develop their own ideas and thoughts. 

    They encourage curiosity, ask questions, and listen to children’s ideas rather than pushing “correct” answers or behaviors. 

    With a stimulating environment and the right adult interactions, children are more likely to develop curiosity and creativity.

    Preschool Students Get To Make Choices

    Preschool children get to choose which activities they participate in. 

    That means they not only get to follow their interests but also learn decision-making skills and responsibility. Children are encouraged to make their own choices.

    Teachers watch children and keep an eye on which activities they seem interested in.

    If a child seems unsure of how to enter other children’s play, they may offer suggestions on ways to join the group.

    Children Learn To Take Care Of Themselves

    At preschool, children are often given chances to practice being responsible. 

    Preschool teachers teach and expect children to wash their hands, keep personal belongings in cubbies, and put toys back in their designated spaces.

    Children Learn To Take Care Of Each Other.

    In addition to taking care of themselves, preschoolers learn how to take care of others. 

    Teachers encourage children to help each other learn skills they are more competent at and view themselves as a resource for other children.

    Preschool children may also be given opportunities to help out in the classroom. 

    Teachers may ask them to set the table at snack time, fix the calendar, or help set up an activity, for example.

    Preschool Promotes Language Skills.

    Children learn language skills best in a language-rich environment. 

    At preschool, teachers help children develop language capabilities by introducing new vocabulary during activities and asking thought-provoking questions.

    With ample opportunities to try new things, listen to read-aloud books, act out stories, and sing, preschool children have a clear advantage in learning to communicate effectively.

    Children Develop Cognitive Skills.

    Children build cognitive skills through activities that challenge them to try new things, solve problems, ask questions, and simply observe the world around them. 

    Preschool emphasizes these types of activities, and children learn more as a result.

    Preschool Activities Help Children Develop Motor Skills

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    While literacy, math, and cognition are important, brainy skills are not the only ones that young children should learn. 

    Many preschool activities are designed to help children develop physical coordination and fine motor schools.

    Children are challenged to develop fine control of their fingers with projects that involve threading with beads, drawing, or even cutting with scissors.

    Many preschools also offer daily opportunities for children to challenge themselves by jumping or climbing.

    The Preschool Environment Provides Structure With Limited Rules

    Preschool may not seem highly structured at first glance. However, classroom space is always organized to encourage social interaction and skills development.

    Preschool teachers provide opportunities to engage in group activities, listen to stories, and work together with other children. 

    In an environment with a range of activity choices, children can explore their curiosity while still getting used to structured activities.

    Preschool Prepares Children For Kindergarten

    Kindergarten has become more and more academic over time. Because of this trend, some parents believe their children need a stronger pre-math and pre-literacy foundation in preschool to succeed later on. 

    Others worry that their children need more structured play and opportunities to explore their interests.

    Preschool provides both kinds of learning opportunities for children. 

    A high-quality education program will offer children both protected play time and skills development that prepare them for kindergarten.

    Preschool Is A Foundational Opportunity For Growth

    More than anything else, preschool helps children develop the skills they will need to grow throughout their lives.

    With improved social and communication skills, they will be better able to ask for help and cooperate. 

    With strong pre-literacy, cognition, and math foundation skills, they are less likely to struggle or have a negative experience in school. 

    The emotional skills and understanding of the world that children develop while they are young will help them become constructive members of society as they grow.

    What Do Kids Learn in Preschool?

    Below we look at what children learn in preschool:

    Social And Emotional Development

    In preschool, children will learn to strengthen their social and emotional development. Children learn how to compromise, be respectful and problem solve. 

    Preschool provides an environment for children to explore, gain a sense of self, play with peers and build self-confidence. 

    Children learn they can accomplish tasks and make decisions without the help of their parents.

    School Readiness

    Behavior management is a major part of preschool learning. In preschool, children learn how to be students. 

    Children learn patience, how to raise their hands and take turns. Children also learn how to share the teacher's attention.

    Children also learn about routine, following directions and waiting. Quality preschools help children find answers through exploration, experimentation, and conversation. 

    Going to preschool also helps children learn to separate from their parents or caregivers.

    Language And Cognitive Skills

    Children’s language skills are nurtured in a “language-rich” environment. 

    In a classroom setting, teachers help children strengthen their language skills by introducing new vocabulary during art, snack time, and other activities. 

    Teachers engage students with thought-provoking questions to give them opportunities to learn language through singing, talking about books and creative play.

    Academics

    In preschool pre-math and pre-literacy skills are introduced. Children are taught numbers and letters, but it is taught in a way that is appealing to children at that age. 

    Children sing an alphabet song while following along in a picture book or learn rhymes and chants, which help them to notice the distinct sounds within words.

    Teachers read stories to children to encourage their listening, comprehension, and expressive language skills. 

    Matching games, sorting games and counting games build children’s understanding of numbers, and sequences. 

    Putting puzzles together encourages children to notice patterns and to work on problem-solving skills.

    Children learn best through activities they find interesting, such as songs, storytime, and imaginative play. 

    Preschool is not about achieving academic success; it is about creating a well-rounded child who wants to explore and question their surroundings. 

    In preschool children will gain the confidence of themselves as capable and independent learners.

    Self-confidence

    In pre-school, children learn they can actually do things for themselves. 

    Children will learn to wash their hands, go to the bathroom and take off their shoes without an adult doing it for them.

    Children may have classroom jobs and take pride in helping out in the classroom. Learning new skills helps build confidence.

    The Role of Preschool

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    Parents are beginning to realize the development conditions they provide to their children up to the age of five to six will have important implications for their development in the future.

    So it’s important how we plan this phase of a child's life. Our goal should be to optimize this period in the child's development to provide them with the most stimulating and safe environment possible. 

    So let's not treat kindergarten as a place and a way to store a child for a few hours we spend at work. 

    As you can see from numerous scientific studies, this decision is much more serious than many parents realize.

    So don’t just pick the kindergarten closest to home, because it's convenient. 

    When choosing a kindergarten, we should acquire knowledge that allows us to make an informed and correct choice, in the same way we choose higher level schools.

    There has been a huge development in preschool education and many specialized programs have been created, each with their own philosophy, such as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia. 

    There are also kindergartens with a specific focus, such as language, sports, ecology, religion, etc. 

    It’s worth it to carefully research the specifics of these preschools, so you can make a choice based on your own priorities and values.

    Common Myths About the Value of Preschool

    The importance of preschool has become a hot topic among politicians, school districts and parents, to name just a few stakeholders in the world of education. 

    We identified the most common misconceptions about preschool and went to work debunking the following myths through research and interviews with the professionals.

    “All The Kids Do Is Play Games And Sing Songs.”

    If all they did all day was play and sing songs, then the parents should be thanking me! The value of play is the top priority in my classroom. 

    What better way for children to learn how to build, create, problem solve, cooperate, communicate, enjoy activities, learn diversity, build self-esteem and be a part of a loving community—where all are accepted.

    While many perceive playing games and singing songs as merely frivolous and entertaining ways to pass the time, research has shown that activities like playing games and singing songs are precisely the ways in which preschool-aged kids develop the most connections in their brains.

    Singing songs encourages speech and language development, enhancing vocabulary and communication skills. 

    Students who struggle with a certain skill (ABCs, counting or math patterns) are able to show mastery through learning a song about it.

    Playing games is the perfect opportunity for kids of this age to express their curiosity, learn teamwork, practice sharing and develop problem-solving skills.

    “I Can Teach All Of These Things At Home”

    One of the biggest mistakes parents make about their approach to preschool is taking on an adversarial relationship with teachers—for example, thinking, “Why would I send my child to preschool when I can do an equal or better job at home?”

    Preschool teachers aren’t trying to undermine parents or downplay their abilities to teach their kids—children obviously can and do learn much from their families. 

    That being said, it’s not fair to discredit the capabilities of preschool teachers. 

    They are highly trained educational professionals and are specifically trained with techniques to enhance a child’s physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development. 

    They know how to immerse children in engaging learning experiences and have years of experience doing it.

    Preschool does not discount the skills you teach your child at home. It reinforces them in a new environment and ensures all areas of the brain are intentionally activated.

    We also emphasize the importance of the social aspect in preschool. 

    While a child might be able to learn activities from a parent or guardian at home in isolation, he or she will miss out on the importance of peers being part of the experience. 

    Kids in preschool have the opportunity to practice sharing, tying their shoes, using scissors and getting a backpack ready while being surrounded by other little humans of the same age. 

    It is not only the trained professionals in the room, but also the peers that enhance the learning experience—making it difficult to replicate at home.

    “The Benefits Of Preschool Don’t Last”

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    “How could my child’s third or fourth year of life significantly impact his or her future? I can’t even remember what I was doing at that age!”

    While many of us don’t remember our earliest years, the first five years are most crucial due to the brain’s ability to make connections.

    Our capacity to develop vocabulary, a lifelong communication skill, is largely decided by the time we reach age five.  

    Many longitudinal studies conducted around long-term effects of preschool show a strong relationship between preschool attendance and success in diverse areas of life.

    Children who attend preschool are more likely to be successful in Kindergarten, then first grade and continuing through college. 

    Although it might be hard for some to believe, the groundwork for successful experiences in the education system is largely established before Kindergarten even starts.

    “Preschool Is Only For Children From Well-off Families”

    This misconception is based on some truth. 

    While the government and each state has funding of public education that is universal for everyone from Kindergarten through high school, funding is much more uneven for preschool programs. 

    Because of this, many parents who would like their child to attend preschool are at a loss when faced with how to pay for it.

    Fortunately for those families, reformers armed with research showing the value of pre-K are making strides legislatively as more and more government money is being dedicated to these programs. 

    Some states fully fund preschool for all children, and many states have legislation in the process to do so. 

    Many schools also offer financial aid to families who make preschool possible. 

    Additionally, Head Start is an early childhood education program that has been active since 1965 and provides education for children from low-income families from birth to age five.

    The Importance of Preschool Is Undeniable

    It’s understandable if you’ve been skeptical of the value of a preschool education—children at this age are so little, and the things they’re learning seem relatively simple. 

    But as you know now, there’s more that goes into teaching preschool children. The time kids spend in pre-K programs is used to develop a foundation for a lifetime of learning—and that matters!

    A quality early childhood education provides children with cognitive, behavioral, and social skills they don't learn at home.

    Teachers find it easier to teach a child who possesses a strong preschool education background in language skills, listening comprehension, attention management skills, and a positive attitude toward learning.

    Importance of Preschool education is that it helps in a child's emotional, social and personal growth and development. ... Although a child learns to talk while at home, in a preschool continuous interaction and exposure with children of the same age group and with teachers helps them to enhance their communication skills.

    Helps with social and emotional development: In addition to teaching your child some academic skills, preschool helps your child develop their social and emotional skills. In preschool, your child learns about sharing and taking turns. Students also learn about empathy and emotional regulation.

    What is the purpose of early childhood education? Simply put, the purpose of ECE is to provide children with strategies that help them develop the emotional, social and cognitive skills needed to become lifelong learners.

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