Many parents struggle with the decision of whether to enroll their child in preschool or not. Some are concerned that their kids are too young to be in school or wonder how much they could possibly learn at that age. Other parents enroll their children out of a child care necessity without even realizing all the amazing benefits a preschool program can offer. Either way, I am here to help you see all the positive attributes preschool has and encourage you to enroll in a program near you!
As a school psychologist who works with children of preschool age, I can tell you with absolute certainty that preschool is extremely beneficial for little ones. Whether it is at a private center, public school or even through your church, being exposed to a preschool curriculum is very important for child development. Kids want to learn. They thrive on attention and social interactions. Even though they might cry or even fight with you at first, kids really do love to learn.
In order to boost brain development, kids need to be stimulated. They need to engage all their senses in a safe and supportive environment that will help foster healthy development. Preschool (or PreK as some call it) allows kids to learn about themselves, peers and the world around them with the guidance of their teachers and parents. To help prove my point, I have come up with a list of benefits for enrolling your child in preschool. I hope you find this list helpful on this new academic journey.
10 Benefits of Preschool
Enhances Language Development
One of the greatest (if not THE greatest) benefits of preschool is the development of language. Kids learn new words by modeling peers and adults, being introduced to new concepts through lessons, engaging in story time and, of course, playing with their peers. Preschoolers enhance their vocabulary as they learn to label letters, numbers, colors, shapes and objects, and their social language improves as they engage in pretend and structured play. The possibilities are endless.
Introduction to Academic Skills
Preschool offers a wonderful first introduction to academic concepts such as numbers, letters, colors and shapes. Although these concepts are covered in Kindergarten as well, it is very helpful for kids to have this exposure before entering Kindergarten. Kids learn best through repetition and ongoing exposure so this will make learning and grasping concepts easier.
Preschool allows kids to separate from their parents even if it’s only for a few hours a few days a week. They learn to be more independent in many aspects such as playing, problem solving and even life skills such as cleaning up and going to the bathroom. In addition, increasing independence also helps increase self-esteem and self-confidence.
Builds Self-Help Skills
At preschool, kids learn various self-help skills such as cleaning up after themselves, washing their hands, eating a snack, drinking from a cup and so on. Kids also learn to ask for help when needed as well as try to problem solve when they need something instead of immediately getting help from mom or dad. In general, kids learn to help themselves instead of relying on others.
Boosts Social Awareness
Kids love playing and running around; however, when they do this alone, they are not able to develop important social skills such as sharing, turn taking and making friends. At preschool, kids learn how to communicate with their peers which leads to increased social awareness. They also learn important concepts such as empathy.
Provides a Support System
Preschool is not just beneficial for the child, it is great for the parents too. At preschools, parents can find a support system. They can make new friends and develop a new circle of people who have something in common. Many preschools also offer informational meetings, support groups and parent advisory committees that help parents stay more involved as well as meet new people.
Preschool is all about being creative and kids using their imagination. It’s about making animals out of letters and monsters out of their handprints. It’s about turning the play castle into an imaginary world full of princes and princesses. As kids use their imagination and creativity, they are also boosting brain development!
Increases Listening Skills
At preschool of course kids have fun and play, but they also have to follow directions and listen to their teacher. Kids learn to follow the class routine, sit nicely during circle time and follow classroom rules. Kids also learn to listen carefully to directions so they can complete projects and crafts successfully. This helps better prepare them for Kindergarten.
Helps Kids Develop a Sense of Self
At school, kids learn about themselves. They learn what they like and don’t like. They learn what they are good at and what needs a little work. Kids also learn how to make choices. This allows them to develop a self-concept and learn about who they are. In preschool, kids think about what toy they enjoy the most, what their favorite color is and even find their first best friend. This is the moment when parents say, “Wow, he is like a real little person!”
Enhances Motor Development
We have talked about how preschool enhances academic, social and communication skills, but it also helps boost motor development. As kids play on the playground, they are building muscle strength and enhancing coordination and balance. Kids also build fine motor skills as they learn to color, write, cut and glue. Motor skills are also enhanced as kids play with blocks, puzzles and even cars.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of preschool. I am not saying they have to go when they are 3 but starting by age 4 will have amazing benefits for your child!
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