While most parents consider Kindergarten the official start of their child’s education, the years preceding this milestone are an important time for learning as well. Children enter Kindergarten usually at around five years old – but the first five years of life are a critical period for setting the foundations of learning. In fact, the preschool years may be the most important learning time of all.
Preschool education is now considered not just a good idea, but very important for a child’s scholastic success. "At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time." Says Kathleen McCartney, Ph.D, Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education. These skills are an important basis for what children will learn in Kindergarten and beyond.
Preschool education provides your child with an opportunity to start a lifelong love of learning. With the use of age-appropriate materials and objectives, you can help your child to practice skills, lay the framework for more advanced learning, and most importantly discover that learning is fun. The motivation to learn is an important factor in school success.
According to Nobel Laureate and Professor James J, Heckman, Ph.D, “Early childhood interventions of high quality have lasting effects on learning and motivation.” This means that providing preschool learning opportunities to your child that ensure learning and development take place hand in hand has lifelong benefits for academic success and more. A child who experiences the joy of learning, of discovery, and of successfully completing age-appropriate tasks at a young age will be more likely to enjoy school later in life, and do better academically as well.
Preschool education provides a child with many benefits, including:
- Longer attention span, making it easier to focus in class
- Advanced language skills that form the basis for reading and writing
- Becoming accustomed to structure and scheduled activities
- Important social skills that are learned in a preschool class environment
Multiple studies have shown that preschool education results in better performance in school later. This has become so widely accepted that many states now provide opportunities for free preschool to low-income and at risk children. Preschool learning both in the classroom and at home provide a child with a strong foundation and ensure that they enter Kindergarten ready to learn; in fact, a certain level of knowledge is expected of children entering school due to the emphasis on preschool learning in recent years. A good preschool education ensures your child is ready, and won’t fall behind his or her classmates.