For some families, preschool is a given. Both parents are working outside the home making it essential for them to find a safe and nurturing place to take their children during the day. But some families have to choose whether or not to enroll their children in preschool. It can be difficult to decide to send a child to school when a parent or guardian can stay home with them. Some parents keep their children at home, and often that arrangement works well for everyone. However, others choose to send their very young children to school because they believe in the benefits that a preschool program can hold for a child.
There is no single right choice. Whether a family enrolls their children in a preschool program depends entirely on the parents and their children. But we can say from our experience that children in preschool tend to see increases in development in some key areas.
1. Verbal Development
Children begin to pick up words and phrases at a rapid pace in their preschool years. Parents are often amazed at how many words and phrases they pick up from observing adult conversations. Often, once a child enters preschool, parents see a huge increase in the quality of their communication, and what started as words and phrases blossoms into conversations. Not only are children now taking in communication from their parents and family members, but they’re surrounded by other children who are contributing words and phrases from their vocabularies and learning to communicate with those children.
2. Social And Emotional Development
Along with the blossoming communication skills, you’ll notice an increase in social development. Depending upon their home lives, some preschool kids are used to engaging with groups of their peers, while others are not. Just the mere fact of learning to function in a group of children their age will do wonders for their development. They’re also exposed to different personalities, children who come from families that have different ethnicities and different lifestyles, and children they don’t easily get along with. All of this new exposure is so valuable to children in preschool as it introduces them to what the real world is like. With the guidance of teachers and parents, preschool is a great place to learn conflict resolution and empathy. The school environment will continue to contribute to your child’s social development for the rest of their lives, but preschool is a great introduction point.
3. Cognitive Development
Preschool is a time when key cognitive skills are sharpened and students start to get the hang of learning in a structured environment. Certain academic skills are required for a child to be successful as they progress through their education. Reading, writing, and math are some of the most important ones, and the foundation for those skills is laid in preschool. Your child might not be reading novels in preschool, but she is learning about story structure, she is picking up new words, and she is learning how to differentiate sounds and understand how letters fit together to form words. Similarly, your child’s doodles will eventually turn into letters which will enable them to communicate their thoughts in writing. And we can’t fail to mention the importance of math skills. Preschool children are not solving complex mathematical equations, but they’re learning to recognize numbers, understand what order they go in, and measure and compare objects. These seemingly small learning objectives eventually evolve into the pillars of your child’s education.
4. Physical Development
Preschool students often show a virtual explosion in physical development. Thanks to teachers and peers, they become more agile and more adept at both large and fine motor skills. As children learn to swing from monkey bars and perform tasks like puzzles and handwriting, their bodies develop quickly and positively. Teachers are often great motivators of this development as they introduce their students to new, engaging activities regularly.
The day your child heads off to preschool is a milestone day for all parents. Whether you’ve chosen the preschool option or your life necessitated it, we can assure you that your child’s development will take off during these precious first years of their education. All children are different and their development will ebb and flow. Just as it is with adults, children are blessed with unique gifts and talents. Some will excel in reading, others in math, and the preschool classroom is often one of the first places that parents see their children’s gifts and talents on display. If you’ve been wondering whether preschool is the right option for your children, our team at St. Barnabas would love to introduce you to our program. One of the great things about enrolling in a preschool program like ours is that you and your family will become valued members of our community through their middle school years. Feel free to contact our office when you’re ready to learn more.