Preparing Kids to Learn
Beyond the realm of confidence and social skills, going to preschool prepares children for life in various other ways, such as getting them ready to learn in school. This has become increasingly true in recent years as the kindergarten curriculum has been revamped. Today, skills such as reading are generally being taught earlier, prompting one study to ask, “Is kindergarten the new first grade?” With so much more expected of children at the kindergarten level, early education becomes crucial as preparation for the new rigors of kindergarten.
Various studies have shown that early education programs for 3- and 4-year-olds improve language skills, literacy, and mathematics. Attending preschool has been shown to improve children’s IQ, their receptive and expressive vocabulary skills, and early reading and math skills. By enrolling your child in a preschool program, you are preparing him to acquire academic skills that he will be expected to use as early as kindergarten, and offering him a head start in his academic career.
Studies show that a crucial part of preschool education lies in stimulating interactions between students and their preschool teachers. By supporting their students emotionally and academically, teachers help children learn to develop skills, respond both verbally and physically, and enjoy learning. Young children often struggle with the transition from a play environment to a learning environment, which can cause a “learning anxiety,” or fear of learning, according to Patel. By introducing your child to this learning environment as early as preschool, you eliminate the anxiety as early as possible, preparing her for future learning.
Teaching Kids Routine
Preschool also helps children develop and understand the concept of a routine. The school day is structured, which helps acclimate children into a daily routine and a learning environment in a gentle and enjoyable way. Being accustomed to a routine helps children prepare for higher levels of grade school, college, and a professional life, according to Patel.
“When I was in a kindergarten classroom with children who didn’t go to preschool prior to entering, they were experiencing social anxiety and learning anxiety simply because they didn’t know what to expect,” Patel says. “Preschool fills those separation and learning anxieties so your child has a better idea and is better prepared for the future.”
In the process of preparing a child for a routine, parents likewise become accustomed to enforcing and sticking to that routine. The earlier you start bringing your child to a structured program such as preschool every day, Patel says, the earlier you learn the importance of an everyday routine for your child. An aspect that is also beneficial for parents is that the earlier you begin, the earlier you can decide what works for you and your child and what doesn’t.
By sending your child to preschool, experts say, he will be provided the resources necessary for proper academic preparation, and social and emotional development. Plus, she will learn more about herself than she could ever do from your living room.
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