It’s Preschool registration time, and we are so enjoying meeting prospective students and their families. One of the questions people sometime ask us is: “What difference is Preschool going to make for my child? How does it benefit them?” Read on to learn a little about what benefits Preschool may have for your child’s growth and development.
How important is preschool?
“We see how early childhood experiences are so important to life outcomes, how the early environment literally becomes embedded in the brain and changes its architecture.” ~ Andrew S. Garner, MD, Ph D
More and more research, specifically brain research, is indicating that the early years in a child’s life are crucial in one’s development. We are learning that the plasticity of the brain during years 0-5 is such that experiences during this age can hard-wire our children for life. This is not to say that afterward, your child is done developing and there’s nothing else you can do. Far be it for us to limit the work of God, in our children’s lives at any stage of development! But there is something to be said about this magical stage where children are like sponges; their ability to take information in and apply it is astounding; the brain is able to order and re-order information in a way that is very unique to this stage of development
Statistics show that a majority of kids attend at least one year of preschool: According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), more than two-thirds of 4-year-olds and more than 40 percent of 3-year-olds were enrolled in a preschool in 2005. “Children who attend high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not,” says NIEER director W. Steven Barnett, PhD.
Going to school and learning how to take turns, wait for their turn, and be part of a classroom are skills that are important when children make their transition into kindergarten. Being part of a school environment where they have to share a teacher’s attention, raise their hand, and experience the structure and routine of school also leads to a stronger sense of self and awareness of the wide world around them. Being exposed to those who are different, eat different foods, look differently from their own selves is an important gift we can give to our children at a young age. Parents who have sent their children to preschool are able to see the rewards of seeing their child develop skills they wouldn’t otherwise be able to master.
What will my child learn?
In addition to strengthening socialization skills — how to compromise, be respectful of others, and problem-solve — preschool provides a place where your child can gain a sense of self, explore, play with her peers, and build confidence. “Kids in preschool discover that they are capable and can do things for themselves — from small tasks like pouring their own juice and helping set snack tables to tackling bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time,” says Angela Capone, PhD, senior program manager at Southwest Human Development’s Arizona Institute for Childhood Development, in Phoenix. “Plus, 4- and 5-year-olds have begun asking some wonderful questions about the world around them — what happens to the water after the rain? Do birds play? Quality preschools help children find answers through exploration, experimentation, and conversation.”
Teachers at TPK support these kinds of learning experiences by providing safe, structured areas where children can do the kind of exploration that supports learning across all areas of development. For instance, in the dramatic play area alone, children are learning expressive and receptive language skills, cooperation, independence, problem solving, role playing, sharing, respect for others’ feelings, and so on. In the block area, they are learning so many pre-math skills for instance: gravity, size, balance, shape, design, planning ahead, etc. You get the idea.
But what about learning his ABCs?
Through our developmental program here at TPK, children are offered experiences that support a love of learning that starts at the earliest ages. As stated above, children learn best through play experiences, so every room in our school is set up to offer different areas of exploration and learning through hands-on exploration. Exposure to literacy and numbers are presented in ways that help children engage with print with their bodies along with their minds. To help kids learn language and strengthen pre-reading skill, teachers might play rhyming games and let kids tell stories. For small children, school is all about having fun and acquiring social skills — not achieving academic milestones. However, they are learning their ABC’s nevertheless just not in the way we tend to think about how children are taught. For instance, in our Pre-K classroom, they have something called Touchy-Feely Thursdays, where they spend time at a salt table tracing the letter S in salt, or they’re making them out of string, etc. Children are learning their ABC’s through ways they learn best – through play.
Some of this article is from: http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/starting-preschool/curriculum/why-preschool-matters/