PRESCHOOL BUILDS AN IMPORTANT FOUNDATION FOR YOUR CHILD
When it comes to your child's education, the early years are some of the most important. A good preschool lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning.
GEMS World Academy Chicago offers preschool for students age 2-and-a-half to 3. Together with our junior kindergarten (age 4) and kindergarten classes (age 5), preschool completes a stimulating and robust early-childhood experience at GEMS, all of it rooted in the International Baccalaureate curriclum.
But what exactly is preschool, and how is it different from daycare?
Preschool is an early childhood educational program for children who aren't old enough for kindergarten. It's not the same as a daycare center, which keeps babies and toddlers safe while the parents are at work. Although a good daycare center provides stimulating activities that can help young children learn, the early childhood learning program provided by a good preschool is often more structured and more focused on preparing children for future schooling.
According to a report by Steven Barnett of the National Institute of Early Education Research, well-designed preschool education programs have a long-term positive impact on children's success at school. Kids who have attended a good preschool score higher on tests, are less likely to have to repeat a grade, and have higher overall educational attainment. The beneficial effects of preschool can even last into adulthood; the HighScope Perry Preschool Study, published in 2005, showed that former preschool attendees were more likely to graduate high school and had higher earnings than those who didn't attend preschool.
Rather than teaching facts in a traditional classroom setting, preschool focuses on young children's overall cognitive development. According to Angela Capone, the senior program manager at the Arizona Institute for Childhood Development, quality preschools encourage children to ask insightful questions about the world and find the answers for themselves through exploration, discussion and experimentation. These skills can have a much greater positive impact on future learning than sitting down and learning multiplication tables by heart.
Improves social skills
Attending preschool also allows children to get used to being around other kids, which can ease the transition into formal schooling. Although being away from Mom and Dad might be tough at first, it's important for young children to learn to cope with short periods of separation. Attending preschool can help children to develop a sense of security even when their parents are not present, which is vital if they are to feel comfortable in school. It also teaches them to do simple tasks for themselves, such as pouring their own juice and making decisions about how to spend their free time. According to Linda Smith, executive director of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, children who have good social and behavior management skills when they start school are the most ready to learn.
Preschool offers many benefits for a child's social and cognitive development. Sending your child to preschool is a great way to get his or her education off to a strong start. Choose a high-quality preschool that encourages children to ask questions and develop their independent learning skills to get the most benefits.
Additional reading: "Preparing your child, and yourself, for preschool"