It is NOT just preschool! I hear this comment more and more frequently. I hear it from my friends who know what I do and my beliefs about early childhood education. Today, I actually heard it from a preschool teacher. So I am here to set the record straight.
Here are the facts about a HIGH QUALITY PRESCHOOL education:
- 80% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they are five years old. Some research suggests the number is as high as 90%!
- Children who attend a high quality preschool enter Kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabulary and stronger basic math skills.
- Multiple studies have shown the lasting outcomes of preschool being higher academic achievement, higher employment rates, lower rates of welfare use and lower criminal activity from children who attended a quality preschool.
By, high quality preschool education, I am referring to programs that are led by professionals who are formally educated, trained, responsive and nurturing to young children. The classrooms have a small student to teacher ratio. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate and stimulates the children’s cognitive, physical and emotional development.
Preschool most importantly teaches children about interacting with others. Children in a high quality preschool learn to wait for their turn, participate in turn taking games and activities, are expected to follow general classroom rules and routines to foster independence, and are taught how to listen and learn the social skills necessary to interact with others in a positive manner. These are life long skills that are essential and should not be taken lightly.
Preschool should also provide a solid foundation of academic learning where children are exposed to literature, music, math, science, world culture, fine motor and gross motor experiences and a classroom full of rich language experiences. These skills may not be obvious to everyone because it should not be a “drill and practice curriculum.” If you look carefully at what children are doing in the classroom you will discover they are engaged in structure play and hands on learning. You will discover a child learning about:
- fractions in the sand box
- gravity at the water table
- the water cycle in a container garden
- patterns at snack time
- children learning about story structure as they reenact “Going on a Bear Hunt”
- good pencil grip with a LightBright
I know this sounds like an abundance of play time, but children learn through play. These are deliberate activities by the teacher to create a well rounded learner who is prepared for the challenges of school and the skills necessary to be a contributing member of society.
I welcome your comments and opinions as well!
For more on what Little Scholars does, please visit our website at http://www.littlescholarsllc.com.