Importance of Preschool

Importance of Preschool:

Preschool Teachers Help Build The Future

 I hope this has helped anyone who is thinking about placing their child in preschool or already has their child in preschool and that it will better help you understand its importance not only on the child's life, but on society as a whole. Preschool teachers, in my opinion, are the world's unsung heroes. They do an extraordinary amount of work and good for our world as our children are any country's greatest asset. We are building the future together. A quality preschool education can be one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child.

Brain development is highest during the first four years of life. The brain is forming important neural paths to help develop the child's ability to perform and function and learn well. Children are able to learn at a rapid rate and want and need to learn new information. I've heard so many teachers and parents remark that at this age their child's brain is like a sponge.

Their brain absorbs information and stores it, often feeling saturated with new input (another important reason your child needs at least 10 hours of sleep). But that is precisely one of the functions of the brain. Your child can benefit immensely when interacting in a quality preschool which is content rich with appropriate information and materials.

Parents often hear of the importance of play in preschool. But playing with dolls and blocks seems to have little to do with the academic knowledge that children will need to succeed in kindergarten. So why is it so important?

Play is the foundation for all learning for young children, and giving your child the time and a few basic toys can provide her with a variety of valuable learning opportunities. “Play is how children begin to understand and process their world,” says Angie Rupan, Program Coordinator for Child Development Center in South San Francisco, CA and early childhood educator for over 20 years. “Children's play unlocks their creativity and imagination, and develops reading, thinking, and problem solving skills as well as further develops motor skills. It provides the base foundation for learning.”

Why is play so important and what do preschoolers learn when they play? Try a few of these simple ideas with items you have around your house and learn about the educational benefits that each can provide for your child.

Imagination and Creativity:

In our fast paced and high tech society, children have fewer and fewer opportunities to use and develop their creativity. Children who are not given frequent opportunities to play may have a difficult time entertaining themselves as they simply do not know what to do without instruction. By providing opportunities for open ended play, your child will automatically get her creative juices flowing, and the possibilities are endless.

Dramatic Play. provide a few props such as dishes and play food, empty food boxes and a cash register or stuffed animals and a doctor’s kit, and your child will be transported into a different place! Watch and be amazed at what she will come up with as she plays.

Craft Supplies. Without a specific project complete, provide your child with a variety of craft supplies such as markers and crayons, scraps of fabric or paper, empty boxes or containers, glue, buttons and stickers. Allow her to create anything she likes and watch her inner artist emerge!

1. What's the difference between childcare and preschool?

Childcare centers are generally an option for working parents who need their children to be taken care of during the day; centers accept babies as well as toddlers and are full-time, full-year programs. Preschool refers to an early-childhood educational class for 3- and 4-year-olds. Many offer a part-time schedule (for example, a few hours a day, two to five times a week) as well as full-day care, but only from September to May. Yet the terms are often used interchangeably. A childcare center with experienced, well-trained teachers and stimulating activities offers kids similar advantages to a preschool. "In fact, many preschools are part of childcare programs," says Linda Smith, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies. 

2. How important is preschool?

"There's increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool," says Parents advisor Kathleen McCartney, PhD, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize -- get along with other children, share, and contribute to circle time."

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.

In fact, educators have so recognized the importance of giving kids some form of quality early education that about 40 states now offer state-funded pre-K programs.

3. 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."

4. But what about learning his ABCs?

"Young children can certainly learn letters and numbers, but to sit kids down and 'teach' them is the wrong way to do it," says Smith. "They learn best through doing the kinds of activities they find interesting -- storytime, talking to their teachers about stars, playing with blocks." To help kids learn language and strengthen pre-reading skills, for instance, teachers might play rhyming games and let kids tell stories. Keep in mind that for small children, school is all about having fun and acquiring social skills -- not achieving academic milestones. "Kids need to be imaginative and to socialize -- that's what fosters creative, well-rounded people. It's not whether they can read by age 4 or multiply by 5," says Flynn. An ideal curriculum? Parading around in dress-up clothes, building forts, and being read to.



Importance of Preschool

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