As many as 3/4 of American children attend a preschool program of some sort. Unlike finding the right daycare, trying to find the right preschool requires a different focus. Finding the right daycare is a process that is suitable for very young children under the age of four. Children four years and older may reap more benefits from attending a preschool classroom.
What Are the Requirements For a Preschool Curriculum?
As the name implies, preschool philosophies focus on one main goal: preparing small children for the rest of their school experience. There are a number of ways preschools go about achieving this objective. Parents who are researching preschools in their area will be able to determine what school aligns with their values by looking at how the children are taught in the classroom.
When Should a Child Be in Daycare/ Preschool?
In 2015, 51% of the three to five year olds enrolled in preschool took part in a full-time program. Finding the right daycare often involves finding one that lines up with at least one of the parents’ work schedule. Yet when the child reaches a certain age child care no longer needs to be solely about having the child watched in a safe environment. The parent can make the choice to find a good preschool instead, in order to ease their child into school.
Usually, the guideline for a child to be in a preschool over a daycare is fairly simple: are they potty trained? This line in the sand is drawn to distinguish not only the children who can use the bathroom unassisted, but is also a fairly accurate assessment of their mental faculties. Children reach developmental milestones at different times. Potty training is a fairly firm line that most schools will use as a guideline.
What Goes On In a Preschool Classroom?
When parents are finding the right daycare, they might look to see the ratio of children to caregivers, how comfortable the play areas are, and see what the feeding schedule is like. Researching preschools requires the parent to examine the curriculum and teaching philosophies as well. Some children do better in environments that put an emphasis on physical learning in the form of hands-on-activities such as crafts and outdoor play. Other schools firmly believe in teaching children the basics, such as the alphabet and basic numbers, as early as possible in a way that accounts for their young mind.
Children still have snacks, play outside, and take naps in preschool depending on their program. Their developmental needs are met of course. Small children need unstructured time. In a preschool, the concepts that the children will learn later are simple introduced to give them a foundation that can be built upon later.
What Are the Long-term Benefits For Children Who Attended Preschool?
There is some indication from studies that children who attended preschool do have some level of measurable long-term success in school that children who did not. This is not a clear causation however. What experts do agree on is that early support in academics is a good indication for how children will perform throughout their school careers. Also, children who attended preschool appear to experience less stress when making the transition to kindergarten than those children who have no prior experience in a classroom setting.
Finding the right place for your child to stay during the day is an important task that requires careful consideration. When a child reaches a certain age and developmental milestones, it can be more beneficial to have them in a program that will prepare them for their future schooling. A good preschool will be one that aligns with your child’s learning style and your schedule. Don’t be afraid to go to different preschools for an interview before deciding on the best one for your family.