As a parent, you may question the importance of preschool. After all, couldn’t you simply send your child to daycare until they reach kindergarten age? Preschool, however, plays a critical role in your child’s education, and here’s why.
Preschool prepares your child for kindergarten.
One of the most obvious reasons preschool is important for children is that it prepares them for kindergarten. “Oftentimes, when children attend high-quality and effective Pre-K programs, they get a really great boost in early skills that set them up for success in elementary school,” says NC State College of Education Assistant Professor Michael Little, Ph.D. As your child develops skills in pre-k such as listening carefully, following directions, sitting still in class, collaborating with other children, and thinking creatively, it gives them an edge over their peers who aren’t attending preschool. Consequently, they will enter kindergarten more prepared and confident because of their time spent in preschool.
Preschool builds your child’s ability to listen carefully and follow directions.
If we have said it once, we will say it again: one of the top reasons why children need pre-k is that they need time to learn the very basic (but fundamental) skill of listening carefully to instructions and following them. Preschool teachers repeatedly give their students simple directions and they help children to follow through. This is a skill far too many elementary (and even high school and college-age students!) didn’t learn in their early years, and they are paying for it in the long run.
Preschool sharpens your child’s verbal and mental skills.
Another reason pre-k is so important for your child is that it grows your child’s verbal and mental skills. Preschool-age children are at a prime time in their lives to expand their vocabulary and sharpen their language skills. GreatSchools.org explains:
“Preschool-age children’s language skills are nurtured in a “language-rich” environment. Between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary grows from 900 to 2,500 words, and her sentences become longer and more complex. In a conversational manner, and without dominating the discussion, teachers help children stretch their language skills by asking thought-provoking questions and introducing new vocabulary during science, art, snack time, and other activities. Children have many opportunities to sing, talk about favorite read-aloud books, and act out stories.”GreatSchools.org
With a teacher’s gentle leadership, your child’s verbal and cognitive skills can be stretched and strengthened even now during their preschool years.
Preschool gives your child the opportunity to exercise their motor skills.
Pre-k is also important for your child because it is filled with opportunities for them to exercise their motor skills. Whether they’re sculpting things out of playdough, coloring, or playing at the playground, preschool children take part in numerous activities on a daily basis that allow them to work with their hands and move their bodies. The more they practice their hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills in their preschool years, the more adept they will be in the years to come.
Preschool teaches your child how to be responsible and take care of themselves.
When looking at the importance of preschool, one must also consider that preschool teaches your child to be responsible and take care of themselves. Your child will find greater success in their elementary years if they have time to practice things like washing their hands after using the restroom, keeping track of their personal belongings, and staying focused during lunchtime. Preschool is sort of like a “test run” that allows your little one to learn bit by bit how to be self-sufficient in a school setting instead of being thrust into school with little-to-no preparation.