While school is mandatory for all children, whether or not children attend preschool is often left up to the parents. Preschool is a great opportunity for all children, as it can help them develop important skills they’ll need throughout life. But why should parents send their kids to preschool? On top of this, figuring out when to send your child to preschool can be difficult as well. Let’s explore a few key benefits preschool programs can offer, and when the right time is to do it.
- Promotes social development: When kids go to private preschool, they get the opportunity to learn about and build relationships with both children and adults outside of their family. The relationships a child forms with their preschool teacher and classmates are some of the most meaningful relationships they’ll have, as they teach them important social skills. Social development is crucial before kids go off to kindergarten, so parents should focus on choosing a preschool that helps foster social development skills.
- Provides a structured setting: A big part of growing up is learning how to act and behave in a structured setting. And this is exactly what a preschool setting provides. While kids should still be allowed to play and act like kids, they also need to be eased into a structured setting. In a preschool classroom kids will have the opportunity to learn, share, and follow instructions in an environment that encourages them to do their best each and every day. Learning and growing in this type of setting is crucial for young kids.
- Preparation for further education: Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of preschool is that it helps to prepare children for continued education. When children go to kindergarten, they’re expected to already know certain things. And while parents can certainly do their part in teaching their kids and preparing them for kindergarten, choosing a preschool can help put kids on a path towards success. Children will get the learning experiences, both academic and social, that they need before they go to kindergarten.
- Associate learning with fun: Preschool provides your child with the opportunity to learn at their own pace. Though the day is certainly structured, there are no ‘classes,’ so to speak. Instead, they are encouraged to learn via play: simple math games teach basic number and counting skills, the alphabet can be introduced through coloring books, and story-time can help acclimate them to language. Once children link learning with fun, it becomes much easier, making the road to kindergarten all the smoother — for both parent and child.
- Adjust to a routine: Though children aren’t sat down and ‘taught’ in the traditional way, preschool does provide a stable and reliable routine. Children not only flourish when they can trust in day-to-day events, but such a consistent routine offers a level of comfort in an often-changing world. If something unexpected happens at home, the classroom might be able to help them regain their stability and bounce back with ease.
- Encourages early interests: Preschool allows children to experiment in a wide variety of ways. By being exposed to art, music, and science in their everyday lives, they’re able to discover what they’re passionate about. Just like summer camp, where 63% of children who learn new activities hold a sustained interest in them after the fact, preschool encourages kids to explore themselves. You never know — your child might become the world’s next Beethoven, or Monet, thanks to the time they spent in preschool.
When to send your child to preschool?
More parents are choosing to send their child to preschool than ever before. In fact, only 33% of three-year-olds and 56% of four-year-olds were enrolled in pre-primary programs in 1990, compared to 41% of three-year-olds and 66% of four-year-olds in 2012. These ages are the best times to send your child to preschool. Most preschools serve three-, four-, and five-year-olds. In most cases, children start preschool at about age four.
Choosing a preschool for your child will help them develop the necessary skills and set them up for success — plus, they’ll end up having the time of their lives!