Importance of Preschool Education
Enough & more studies have shown that 90% of the development of the human brain takes place by age 5. While when a child is born he or she has the brain cells that will have for the rest of their life, it is the synapses or connections between the cells that develop at a remarkable rate until age 5. However, the development of these connections depends upon the kind of experiences & the stimulation that the child receives in the early years. Loving attention & age-appropriate interactions go a long way in ensuring the child’s development.
It is in the above context that the importance of preschools cannot be overstated. It is the child’s first exposure to a structured setting. With the right pedagogy not only can the child’s development be ensured, but importantly, the child’s curiosity can be piqued and he or she can be turned into a learner for life.
Let us look at some of the importance of preschool Education in detail:
Language and cognitive skills
One aspect that rapidly develops while the child is at preschool is the child’s language skills. Little surprise there since the school offers a structured, language-rich environment. Children are exposed to new words not necessarily by way of traditional studies but in an experiential format. Whether it is storytelling, singing, creative play, or a host of other fun activities, they all go in towards enhancing the child’s language skills.
What also develops exponentially, is the child’s cognitive skills as he participates in activities, is curious about them, and asks many questions. Children are also encouraged to think critically, given age-appropriate problems to solve & more, all of which help them develop cognitively as well as critical life skills.
While cognition is an important aspect of development, what is equally important is that the child develops both gross & fine motor skills. This is ensured by a wide range of activities, that the child is exposed to, in preschool. Whether it is jumping, climbing, or painting, a whole lot of activities are designed to offer the child an opportunity to develop physical coordination as well as motor skills.
With time spent with other children, what the child also learns are important social skills such as making friends, sharing, collaborating, listening & more.
What is also important for early socialization is adult interaction & modeling; this is an aspect that the child learns through his interaction with teachers. These skills learned in early childhood and imply the importance of preschool, in a secure environment, go a long way in setting the right foundation for the child’s later life.
Given a secure environment where the child learns to take independent steps, what automatically flourishes is the child’s self-confidence. Whether it is learning new things, helping out with activities, and more, preschoolers gain confidence as they gradually take to independent work. Additionally, encouragement while they are on this journey, helps develop self-esteem, which is an important marker for success & happiness in later life.
The time that the child spends independently in preschool, goes a long way in ensuring that the child’s separation anxiety is addressed. When it is time, therefore, to spend long hours at the main school, the child is well prepared. Besides the increase in the child’s skills as well as confidence levels makes his journey to the main school that much more seamless.
Done well, the play school has a strong role to play in turning children into lifelong learners. It is the right pedagogy that ensures that the child does not look at studies as a burden; instead a positive relationship is fostered with learning. A good preschool also pays a lot of attention to developing lifeskills, which are without a doubt, an important marker of success in life. Whether it is imbuing the child with the right communication skills or critical thinking skills, the role of a preschool in preparing the child for the road ahead cannot be overstated.
What to look for when choosing a preschool?
With a crucial role played by playschools in the child’s holistic development, it is only prudent that due importance be paid to choosing the right preschool. Some of the factors to look for, in making your choice include:
It is worthwhile to invest your time in finding out who the founding team of the school is & the kind of passion & commitment they bring towards educating a new generation. It is important that the team has a progressive vision & is driven to make a difference in the lives of young learners. In addition, the kind of teachers & importantly the training provided to them is of importance, as it is the teachers who will have a direct interaction with your child.
It stands to reason that the early relationship fostered with learning has lifelong consequences. It is therefore important to pay attention to the curriculum the school follows & how suited it is for the child’s holistic development. At Footprints, for example, we follow the Highscope Curriculum that is scientifically developed. The approach is consistent with the best practices recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Head Start Program Performance Standards, and other guidelines for developmentally based programs. The program lays a lot of emphasis on participatory learning & addresses all areas of development through its six content areas & 42 key developmental indicators. It has seen great success when it comes to the development of children into well-adjusted adults, who have healthier relationships, improved employment opportunities, fewer criminal records, and more. The teachers are also highly trained to be able to deliver the curriculum to its fullest potential.
Adult: Child Ratio
At a developmentally crucial stage, what is important is personalized attention for children. It is imperative, therefore that you check for the school’s adult:child ratio. 1:10 is typically a healthy, world-class ratio to aspire for.
Safety & Security
Someone has rightly said that having a child is like having your heart walk around outside of your body. When you send your toddler to school, you sure are worried about his or her safety. An absolutely non-compromisable aspect of the school needs to be the kind of security offered to the child. Some of the aspects to look for here, includes having a child friendly infrastructure. This could be in terms of childproof classrooms, safe toys & supplies and a lot more. Stringent entry norms into the school & rigorous dispersal rules are other areas to watch out for. Additionally, it will offer you immense peace of mind to opt for a school that offers you live CCTV footage. Pro tip- It isn’t just important to know that the school has CCTV cameras; whether or not they are operational & whether the school offers live footage to parents, is an important criteria to make your choice. That way you can be sure of your ward’s safety. Additionally, make sure that the school offers in-app updates of the activities undertaken by the child, so that you are kept informed.
Research shows that addiction to junk food when developed early can pose a risk for chronic unhealthy eating into adulthood. It is therefore important to ascertain the kind of food that the school offers & whether or not the menu has any place for junk food. Nutritious meals with fruits included in the menu help in the child’s physical development, just as the child’s mental, emotional & social development is facilitated by the school. Other than eating healthy food, children also learn healthy food routines & eating habits and form a healthy relationship with food.
For working parents, the fact that the importance of preschool is that it also offers day care facilities is a big plus. Be sure to check if the day care offers age-appropriate activities for the child. That way you can be sure that the child is constructively utilizing his time.
To Sum Up The Importance Of Preschool
While it has been proven without any doubt that the first 5 years of the child’s life are developmentally very important, a right playschool can make these years count. By nurturing young learners & instilling life skills & a growth mindset in young children, the importance of preschool is that it can ensure that the child is well-adjusted to his environment. Such children tend to look at failures as opportunities to learn & are resilient when it comes to handling curved balls that life throws their way. Above everything the choice of the right playschool ensures that the individual strengths of each child are appreciated & nurtured, instilling him with self-esteem that is fundamental to the child’s development & that has profound implications in all aspects of life.