Currently, over five million children in the United States attend a prekindergarten program each day. Research showing the many benefits of preschool on a child’s development has led to an increase in the number of young children attending preschool overtime. In a 12 year period, preschool enrollment has risen 8% for three-year-olds and 10% for four-year-olds. Currently, about 41% of three-year-olds and 66% of four-year-olds attend preschool nation wide. There are several advantages of enrolling children in preschool programs. Check out this list to learn about some of the many benefits of preschool programs on child development.
#1. Preschool Promotes Growth
The transition to preschool for many children is their first experience in a structured environment other than their home. Learning about new routines, following directions, working with other children and learning to trust and follow directions from adults other than parents are all huge milestones for children that are necessary skills for succeeding in school and in life. Choosing the best preschool can require some research. Often, the best preschools incorporate foundation academic learning–in ways that seem like fun activities and games–so children will leave preschool with knowledge they can apply to kindergarten. Look for preschool programs that have a curriculum and are geared towards prepping children for primary school. This academic focus is what sets many preschool programs apart from daycare programs.
#2. Preschool Enhances Social and Emotional Development
Preschool significantly increases the social development of children as they are introduced to many new children and adults and learn to develop caring and trusting relationships. Finding a good preschool that focuses on developing social skills such as communication, sharing with others, listening and self-advocacy will help give your child the necessary tools for developing healthy social relationships. Emotional self-control is also a large component of preschool programs. Children learn to express their emotions in appropriate ways. Public and private preschools often have an emphasis on consistency and communication between home and school. This helps reinforce learning across environments and helps children monitor their behavior in different settings.
#3. Preschool Increases Curiosity
If you are wondering how to find a preschool that will benefit your child the most, keep in mind that one of the key benefits of preschool is instilling a passion for learning and discovering in young children. Preschool programs that incorporate new experiences such as field trips, working with new materials and many opportunities to explore will help children develop their own interests and truly become excited about the potentials for learning. Young children have amazing imaginations, and the imagination can fuel learning in a supportive environment. Look for preschool programs that incorporate lots of imaginary play and have access to an outdoor area to play.
#4. Preschool Provides Opportunities for Making Choices
For many children, their lives at home are generally dictated by parents’ schedules. Preschool provides ample opportunities to make autonomous choices about what activities to participate in. Teachers help guide children to make appropriate and safe choices throughout the day so children become more independent. Instead of always following directions, they learn to think for themselves in more situations.
An estimated 30% of children ages three and four attend private preschool programs and child care centers. Finding a preschool to suit the needs of your child will require finding a program that has excellent teachers, facilities and values that you support.