Research is continuing to prove the importance of early childhood education programs like preschool because of its impact on academic and social progress. Since 2002 enrollment in state-funded preschool programs has more than doubled and this increase doesn’t have an end in sight.
Approximately 30 percent of 4-year-olds in the United States attend preschools run by the government. Many more attend private programs run by churches and education professionals. Recently the political push for more government-funded preschool programs has made national headlines.
During President Barack Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, he devoted some time to mention the importance of preschool and its significance to childhood development. Obama has asked for a $75 billion investment from the federal government to strengthen and increase preschool programs over the next 10 years. This funding would come from an increase in tobacco tax.
Many believe preschool is an important part of early childhood education and brain development; and science is starting to present evidence to support that belief.
10 Benefits of Going to Preschool
Parents predominantly send their kids to preschool because it’s a great babysitter during the work day. However most don’t realize how much preschool actually helps set the stage for learning. The skills acquired during preschool are significant to childhood development and some of the top benefits of attending preschool include:
- Opportunities for Growth – For most kids preschool is their first structured environment. Growth between the ages of 3 and 5 are tremendous and preschool gives children the chance to learn, share and follow directions.
- Preparation for Kindergarten – Preschool is the perfect opportunity to prepare your child for kindergarten. Kids that attend preschool typically go into kindergarten a few steps ahead of students who didn’t go to preschool.
- Social and Emotional Development – Preschool is an environment for kids to work and play with other kids. It’s also a chance for them to connect with other adults other than their parents and family members. Naturally this is beneficial to their social development. Emotionally, preschool teaches kids self-control and provides education instructors a lot of opportunities for teachable moments that deal with feelings of frustration and other conflicts.
- Learn in a Structured Environment – At preschool students work in small spaces and within groups. They also have the chance to work in their own space or at a desk. Preschools operate like an elementary school and stick to a structured schedule that teaches them to be on time and on schedule.
- Kids Make Choices – There are lots of activities for kids to choose from at preschool and making choices on their own is great for development. Teachers will guide kids who wander and can’t seem to make up their mind.
- Learn Independence – Preschool is a wonderful place for kids to experience self-growth. In addition to working with kids and teachers, they get the chance to perform tasks on their own. Teachers often like to assign tasks to students so they feel accomplished.
- Learn to Respect Others – Preschool introduces key behaviors that will stay with kids forever. They’ll learn to share, work in groups, and listen.
- Increase Vocabulary – Children who attend preschool walk into kindergarten with a much bigger vocabulary than those who don’t. The opportunities to speak with adults, hear them talk, and ask questions will naturally improve their language skills.
- Increase Cognitive Skills – Preschool opens the door to countless hands-on activities. Such activities challenge kids to observe, analyze and solve problems.
- Boost Math and Literacy Skills – Preschool starts teaching kids the basics for math and reading. Children that go to preschool have a one year head start on these fundamental subjects over everyone else.
As politicians continue to push for preschool and early childhood education programs, you should start doing the same. Don’t wait to get a head start on your child’s education and overall development.
The article was researched and written on behalf of First Baptist Orlando.