Preschool vs childcare
Preschool is different from childcare. It is part of early childhood education. The class is attended by children between 3 and 4 years. Some preschool classes are offered on a full-day basis while others are part-time. On the other hand, childcare is a center that takes care of children. You will find even toddlers in these centers. Another difference is that childcare is a full-time program.
Importance of preschool
Children who attend preschools enjoy lots of benefits. First, children learn to be responsible. While interacting with others, children learn how to helps others and take care of themselves. Preschool teachers give children opportunities to help out. For example, they are expected to help each other in putting away toys. They start becoming responsible as early as 3 years.
Second, children develop motor skills. This is because teachers offer many activities that improve physical coordination. Third, children learn how to follow instructions. Preschool programs offer children opportunities to follow directions. Even though they are given simple tasks, children learn to listen and follow all directions. Fourth, preschool help children achieve developmental milestones. This helps in reducing the need for special education.
Do children who attend preschool do better in school?
Research shows that children who attend preschool perform better in school. This is associated with several factors.
- Language and literacy development
Attending preschool enables children to develop language and literacy skills at an early age. This is true for children who attend high-quality preschool programs. The benefits are even better when preschools programs emphasize literacy and language skills. These children complete the program with the ability to express themselves. They also develop a love for learning. Studies have examined the impact of developing skills at an early age. The findings show that children who attend preschool are more likely to perform better in school. These children are more likely to graduate through high school. This is in comparison to children who do not attend preschool. Research also shows that children who attend preschool, are less likely to be retained in kindergarten.
- Nurturing curiosity
Teachers in preschool nurture the curiosity of children. While in preschool, teachers engage children in question and answer activities. The point of these exercises is not to get the correct answer. The goal is to motivate children to learn and nurture curiosity. Teachers use every opportunity to motivate children to learn. For example, a simple event such as a child discovering an ant in the play area is used to motivate learning. The curiosity and motivation place these children in a better position to succeed in school.
- Playing opportunities
Children have enough playtime in preschool. Preschool teachers expose children to different games. Most of these games may not be accessible at home. The games motivate children to explore. They also expose children to various subjects. As a result, these children are prepared for learning.
- Development of social-emotional skills
Preschool programs help a child to develop social and emotional skills. These include showing empathy, learning how to share, and regulating individual emotions. These skills prepare children for better performance in school.
- Prepares children for kindergarten
Children find it hard to navigate the classroom the first time in kindergarten. Such transitions can affect learning. For children who attend preschool, transitioning to kindergarten is easy. This is because they are already exposed to a school setting.
First, some children may experience separation anxiety when they join preschool. Such kids need personal attention to manage anxiety. Second, some kids may develop feelings of frustration. This may occur when preschools start teaching kids too early. Such kids can even hate learning. Third, some preschools may have fewer opportunities for children. For example, they may have less playing activities for kids. This can interfere with children’s development. Fourth, some preschools may be ineffective. This means that they may not have any impact on performance.
How to choose a high-quality preschool program
Preschool benefits children in different ways. But not all programs are beneficial. You must choose the right program. First, decide on the kind of schedule you want. Do you want a full-time of half-day schedule? Choose the most convenient schedule for you and the kid. Second, decide on the location. It should be close to home or work. Third, choose the type of program you want. Do you want a state-funded school, a private school, or cooperatives? Ensure you select a licensed school. This is important because the school will ensure the safety of your child.
Fourth, enquire about the school you are considering. Ask about curriculum and fees. Schedule a visit to confirm if the school is what you want. During the visit, check out the following; Is the school clean? Is it safe for your child? Are there enough resources including staff and books? The last question to ask yourself is whether you are comfortable with the school. If you are, then take your child to the school. If you are not, look for a better preschool.
There are many reasons why children should attend preschool. First, attending preschool enable children to grow physically, socially, and emotionally. Second, attending preschool prepare children for success in school. But for preschool to be effective, it must have three elements. First, they must have highly qualified staff. Second, the program should emphasize developmental growth. Third, they must give children enough learning time.