Preschool is the first time a child will interact with peers their own age without parental oversight. It can be an emotional time for parents, a milestone signifying that their child is growing up. While it might be tempting to keep children home until kindergarten, there are actually numerous benefits of preschool that are worth considering.
What Are the Benefits of Preschool?
Attending preschool helps children to develop both social and emotional skills. By interacting with their peers, they grow to understand sharing and kindness towards others. It can also help to promote language development, as teachers help to introduce new vocabulary, and encourage curiosity through asking questions. Not only is socialization an important element, but preschool also serves to ready children for kindergarten. As younger grades become more and more academic, preschool can help to lay a foundation that helps kids understand the fundamentals of reading, writing, and basic math. It serves as a head start, if you will, that will help children succeed as they move forward in school. In addition to this, preschool is about nurturing a child’s natural inquisitiveness. Great Schools, an online parenting website states that, “To nurture their curiosity and motivation to learn, teachers use children’s interests and ideas to create activities.” Children get a freedom here, that in later grades they seldom receive. This is an opportunity for them to play as they learn, to explore different interests, and have fun with new friends while doing so. These are just a few of the various benefits of preschool, and they are certainly worth considering.
Choosing the Best Preschool
When it comes to choosing the best preschool for your child, there are a plethora of options out there.
- The montessori school program is one that focuses on creativity and an open style of learning, where lenient guidance is given by instructors. Children are encouraged to engage in what interests them. Here the main goals are to foster practical skills, and academic curiosity.
- Another philosophy is the Reggio Emilia approach, this type of learning is found in many schools across the United States. This program focuses on community, art, and the importance of self expression. Children are encouraged to learn by taking part in art projects that stimulate and reflect their interests.
- Additionally, there is HighScope schooling. This isn’t as loosely organized, and uses set routines to instruct children. It is geared more towards the academic, as opposed to the artistic, and builds a foundation on reading, sciences, and basic math.
These are just a couple of the more common preschool philosophies. It’s worth looking into the particulars of a program to see if your child would be a good fit. Another thing to consider is day length, preschools often have options for full day and half day classes. It can sometimes be helpful to start a child in half day classes, to see how they get along, before moving them into a full day routine.
What About Private Schools?
If the above isn’t exactly what you are looking for, there are always private institutions to consider. Private schools make up 24% of U.S. schools, and instruct 10% of all preschool to 12 year students. In addition, a majority of private schools, around 80%, are religious based. This can be a good choice for parents who want children to obtain a strong education, while also learning about spirituality. A number of these private schools begin class options at the preschool level, and continue up until 8th grade. This can be beneficial to a child, as they learn and grow at the same school, with their same friends, for a longer amount of time.
The benefits of preschool are numerous, and can help foster a love of learning that lasts for years to come. Think about the options available to you, and which methods would work best for your family. Sending a child to preschool can be challenging, but the rewards can be invaluable.