Is Preschool Benefiting Your Child?

preschool

High-quality early childhood education provides children with the foundation they need to lead healthy, safe and productive lives. As a mom and educator for over twenty-five years, I have seen first-hand the difference the “right” school can make in a child’s life. Friends often ask me for advice on schools for their children, and I always reply in the same manner (whether it’s preschool, elementary or high school). I recommend that they find a school that will encourage their child’s natural tendency to learn through play and exploration. When we allow children to investigate topics that interest them, they become creative learners.

This “balance” in learning will encourage children to become curious, creative, confident and well-rounded individuals. By giving children the structure of guidance from teachers and at the same time providing flexibility in what they explore, children are able to arrive at outcomes in their own unique ways. As a teacher, I have always encouraged children to think of alternatives as they problem solve, and I made sure I was there to foster their creativity along the way in these critical first years..

Research shows that the most significant brain development landmarks occur from birth to age 5. Babies are born with more than 100 billion nerve brain cells. These neurons must connect and communicate with each other in order to form the circuits needed to think, learn and succeed –something neurons do at the remarkable rate of 700 connections per second in the first five years of life (which never again occurs this fast).

According to The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, “The strength and efficiency of these connections is greatly affected by social interactions that involve an active back and- forth—or ‘serve and return’—exchange of information.”

Parents and educators play a critical role in creating these new and repeated experiences that lay the foundation for a wide range of developmental outcomes later in life.

“Serve and return” can be implemented with children of all ages to promote a variety of positive learning outcomes, such as literacy and language skills, social and emotional confidence and executive functioning skills, such as team-building and leadership skills.

Research-based curriculum developed in schools that carefully balances social, emotional, physical and academic learning based on age and developmental levels shows to be highly effective. For example, during story time, teachers engage students in different back-and-forth interactions by age, including:

AGES 6 WEEKS-1 YEAR: COOING AND MAKING FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.
AGES 1-3: ASKING QUESTIONS AND USING DIFFERENT CHARACTER VOICES.
AGES 4-5: DISCUSSING FEELINGS.

By frequently and deliberately pairing words with objects and actions to create meaning, our students begin to learn language to its fullest extent. Additionally, by implementing “serve and return,” and discussing problems and feelings during playtime, children begin to develop important life skills, such as playing well with others, thinking outside the box and learning to cope with failures. Children who are encouraged to think for themselves become more independent, and that translates into later success. For example, children that have access to quality preschools:

-HAVE ENHANCED COGNITIVE,VERBAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT..
-HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER IQ’S..
– ENTER SCHOOL BETTER PREPARED TO LEARN..
– DEMONSTRATE HIGHER LEVELS OF SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT AND SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT..
– ARE MORE LIKELY TO GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND ATTEND HIGHER LEVELS OF EDUCATION..

Early childhood education provides the foundation for a child’s future in life beyond school. The rapid development that takes place during the first five years of a child’s life is critical to success in life, and, as early educators, we play a pivotal role in fostering their sense of wonder and exploration.