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The early years, from 0-5 years, are the crucial formative years in a child’s life. They can form the basis of a strong foundation on which the child’s further growth and development may be based. During this decisive period, the child’s brain begins to develop. He starts to grasp things and attain an understanding of his surroundings. Proper direction and proper training during this period can facilitate his growth and development. That is why preschool education becomes all the more essential.
Preschool education can be the stepping stone to the bright future of a child. According to experts, preschool education can help a kid not only in gaining better social skills, greater adaptability, and adjustment but also aid the kid in performing academically well later on.
Why Is Preschool Education Important for Your Child?
Preschools can play a key role in the overall growth and development of the child. Preschools can help channelise the energy of kids in a constructive way, fuel their imagination, satisfy their curious minds and introduce them to basic concepts of learning. Studies indicate that kids enrolled in preschools have later shown a better understanding of concepts and improved grades in elementary school.
Preschool is the first place where a kid finds his own identity, learns to interact with people other than his family, make new friends thereby gaining self-confidence in the process. Preschools can play a vital role in the personality development of a kid by positively shaping his attitude and aptitude.
More importantly, it can provide a kid with the right motivation to learn by demonstrating that learning can be fun and interesting. It moulds the first impression of the place of learning. Besides, preschools may also provide the parents with the opportunity to relax while their kids get to learn in a fun, useful manner.
Preschool education is an early childhood program that aims at educating kids of 3 to 5 years of age, by combining learning with fun with the help of playful and creative methods. A preschool is also called pre-primary, play way or kindergarten. The benefits of preschool education are listed below:
1. Gain Social Skills
One of the important things that a kid acquires from preschool education is social skills.Preschool education provides a platform where kids get to interact with other kids and the teachers on their own. They learn to share, compete in a healthy manner and intermingle with kids of their age through numerous group activities. They learn to communicate effectively, understand instructions, follow commands and conduct themselves in an orderly manner. Preschool education can prove beneficial for kids who are temperamentally shy by helping them to draw out and thus preventing them from becoming introverts.
2. Learning Through Play
Preschool education imparts learning and knowledge through playful means thereby making learning fun for the kids. The various activities are specifically planned to introduce basics like colours, shapes, letters, numbers to the kids in a fun and interesting manner. Activities like drawing and finger painting, dancing and singing classes, clay modelling, block building and counting, storytelling class, nature walks, activity books are all aimed to make learning a joyful experience for the kids.
3. Boost Creativity
The different inventive activities offered at preschool aims at encouraging imagination and creativity in kids. They get ample opportunities to explore and approach learning of concepts through creative means. Learning through artistic activities facilitates not only easy understanding but also better retention.
4. Promote Motor Skills
Many interactive and physical activities at preschool enable the kids to develop and enhance their motor skills. Playful activities such as catching and rolling the ball, bead threading, building blocks, simple paper folding techniques, colouring, sticking objects with glue, inserting the right shapes in spaces play an essential role in the development of child’s motor skills and hand to eye coordination. Jigsaw puzzles of various types and playing with age-appropriate toys helps stimulate the brain and promotes the cognitive development of kids.
5. Readies the kid for Elementary School
Preschool education prepares the child for the coming years of learning and school life. It is an excellent way of generating awareness among toddlers of a life apart from the comfort and security of their homes and parents by providing them with an appropriate conducive environment where they can explore new things in a playful and creative manner. A kid gets accustomed to a set routine which helps ease his transition process to elementary school life.
Difference Between Preschool and Childcare
Childcare or day care centre or crèche is a commercial place where working parents may leave their kids to be taken care by babysitters or nannies for certain specific hours like for the duration of parent’s working hours. They basically supervise or look after the kid while the parents are at work.
Preschool is an educational institution that offers initial childhood education to kids under age 3 to 4 years who are not yet old enough to begin primary school. Professionally qualified and trained teachers teach kids through activity based, playful methods.
However, both the terms can be used in place of each other. Childcare centres with trained professionals and exciting activities and games can provide kids with similar benefits as that of a good preschool.
Is Preschool Education Really Necessary?
Many experts believe that preschool education is not just a great concept but is necessary to the academic success of a child. It should not be viewed as a place where the kid may gain academic mastery but as a training tool which can help in the comprehensive social, emotional, mental and personal development of the child. Preschool education can aid in the enhancement of various motor and physical skills that form the basis of writing, speaking and learning.
Moreover, most parents, these days, are working and may not be able to take out quality time from their busy schedules to educate their kids. Kids are often left behind at home in the care of grandparents or aides who may not be able to teach or guide productively and positively.
When Can Your Kid Start Preschool?
Many preschools enrol kids as young as two and a half years while others accept only when the kid turns three. The decision really lies with the parents depending on whether they are a working couple, if they are ready to let the kid be away from them and if they think their kid is ready to explore on his own. Kids may be enrolled for either part-time or for a full-time program.
How to Select A Preschool?
Preschool effects on child development can be far-reaching. The value of preschool education is immense. Therefore, parents need to be careful while selecting a suitable preschool for their kid. Moreover, it is the first time that their kid will be away from them and the comfort zone of the house. Therefore, preschool should feel like a second home away from home where the kid can feel relaxed and happy. Certain considerations that may be kept in mind while selecting a preschool are as follows:
Step 1: Choose a Location and Schedule
Parents need to decide upon an appropriate schedule for their kid depending on the temperament, readiness, and age of their kid. Accordingly, they can register him for a part-time course like 2 or 3 days in a week for a few hours or a fulltime course like five days a week. Moreover, they may like to select a preschool which is nearer to their place of residence or working place for convenience and to reduce the travelling time for the kid.
Step 2: Verify the License
It is important to check the license of a preschool. It should have a valid license by a recognised authority certifying that the preschool meets all the regular and approved standards of teaching, curriculum, safety regulations, healthcare and cleanliness standards and child care amenities.
Step 3: Check Credentials of the Teaching Staff
It is essential to check the educational qualifications of the teaching staff employed by the preschool. Qualified and trained professionals with considerable experience in managing such young children will be able to teach efficiently and beneficially.
Step 4: Enquire About Curriculum
Keep in mind to ask about the kind of activities and facilities that the preschool has to offer to its students. Parents may also like to inquire about the teaching methods adopted by the teachers and the student-teacher ratio per class. If the ratio is less, your child is likely to benefit more from the individual attention that the teacher will be able to provide him. An excellent curriculum comprises of varied age-appropriate activities and teaching methods.
Step 5: Feedback And Scheduled Visits
It is advisable to ask about the number of parent-teacher meetings the preschool schedules for the benefit of the parents and the channels of feedback and communication the school has established to help parents check the progress of their kids. Many preschools organize open houses wherein parents can observe the teachers teaching a class, the functioning of the school and gage the general feel and atmosphere of the preschool.
Kids form the future of every society. Parents by providing good preschool education to their child can do a great service not only to the child but also to the society at large. Preschool education can provide an edge to the kids due to which they are more likely to perform academically well and enjoy school life.
Also Read: Safety Rules at School for Kids