Although it may seem like all fun and games, preschool is one of the most important times in a child’s development. It is the foundation for future years of schooling and an opportunity for the child to socialize in a new environment. Up until the ages of three and four, learning and development occur in the home with parents and other family members. After this point, however, parents must allow their kids to go out into the world and interact with new people. This will benefit both parties in the long run by diminishing separation anxiety.
Preschool is the perfect opportunity for young ones to learn life skills such as sharing, communication, and making friends. The classroom environment will require them to play and learn in a fun yet structured manner. This could include group activity periods like “circle time” or more individual periods like “coloring time.” Toddlers will also need to care for themselves and their belongings with practices like hand washing and picking up after themselves. Although formal education will not have begun, fun activities such as “story time” and simple math puzzles expose the young ones to letters and numbers. Playing with different toys contributes to the continued development of motor skills.
Parents are strongly encouraged to schedule visits to preschools. The following is a list of things to consider when choosing a program.
Effective Communication – You should expect to be kept up-to-date by the teacher and the school regarding your toddler’s progress.
Cleanliness – The learning environment ought to be adequately clean and safe by your standards.
Disciplinary Policy – You must be aware of and in agreement with how the school handles behavioral reinforcement and punishment.
Curriculum – Review the curriculum to determine how beneficial it will be for your young one. What sort of activities will they be doing from day to day?
Credentials – What sort of training or certification have the teachers undergone? Ask to pay a visit to a classroom during class to get an idea of how teachers will be interacting with the children.
Schedule – Depending upon your work schedule, will the school be able to accommodate your child? What is the policy if you are running late to pick them up?
Cost – Assess the various options and determine if you are willing and able to put forth additional funds in favor of a private program. If not, look into the government-funded Head Start program.
Although it may seem like an intimidating task, choosing the right preschool for your family is crucial for the development of your child. Recent studies have shown that individuals enrolled in pre-K are more likely to perform well in school and get better jobs, and are less likely to commit crimes later in life. Take enough time to research the programs in your area and talk to other parents to get their opinions and recommendations.