I loved preschool as a child. Years later, thousands of hours of education tucked under my belt and one master’s thesis written and defended; I still love preschool.
I loved climbing the large white wooden steps up to the gigantic glass door each morning.
I loved belonging to a group of my peers.
I loved creating sticky art projects, which I would proudly present to my parents.
I loved preschool.
Back in my days of early education, preschool was more of an activity rather than an academic exercise. Sure, basic concepts were taught and socialization occurred. However, most parents were not letting little Johnnie off morning after morning in hopes of enhancing his future. Mother usually needed a “day out” and preschool provided a safe and happy solution.
These days educators know a lot more about the benefits of a quality preschool program. They understand that the cutting and the pasting, the singing of the “ABC’s”, the romps around the playground are all shaping and stretching young minds in ways that provide a lifetime of benefits.
Although it sometimes carries a frivolous reputation, preschool is big business. Society is beginning to take notice that early education is doing more than simply introducing concepts and providing a place for peer interaction. Rather early education has been discovered to have a positive impact on the life of an individual. The US Department of Education found that individuals who attended a quality preschool (“quality” being the key word) are more likely to graduate high school, more likely to have higher paying jobs and more likely to own their home. Parents know that early education does more than simply teach basic concepts; it gives children a jump on life.
Studies have shown that children who attend a quality preschool are ahead of their peers who did not attend preschool in math and reading skills upon entering kindergarten. They have learned self management skills, are able to follow a routine and understand how to adhere to social norms outside of the home. Children from low income areas who attend a quality preschool experience an even greater positive effect that extends into thei
r community. Crime rates are reduced, high school graduation rates are boosted and economic returns are generated for the community.
When faced with statistics telling of the positive benefits reaped through preschool attendance, parents are anxious to jump on board the early education train. However, such enthusiasm can quickly fade as parents realize that although the idea of preschool appears simple, the process of determining what type of preschool is best for one’s child can be tedious and mind-numbing.
Taking time to self-educate about the various types of founding principles which guide potential schools allows parents to make a well-informed decision that best suits the needs of their child and their family.