T here is a lot of debate over the pros and cons of preschool for kids. Should you send your child to preschool or keep him or her at home until kindergarten? Although more and more parents have been choosing to send their children to preschool, many want to give their child the best educational opportunities they can but question whether preschool is the right choice.
Most studies on this topic have shown that attending at least one year of preschool greatly improves children’s pre-reading and math skills. A 2011 Psychology Today article by behavioral neuroscientist, Joshua Gowen, explained how preschool is able to have such a benefit for children. According to Gowen, there are specific times in a child’s life when the brain has the most learning potential. One of these times is the preschool years, between infancy and the age of 5. At this time in a child’s life, the brain is like a sponge, capable of absorbing as much knowledge as possible. Preschool takes advantage of this capability, giving the children a head start on kindergarten and further education in general. There are, however, pros and cons of sending kids to preschool.
1.Prepare for Reading
The pre-reading skills provided by attending preschool make it easier for children to reach advanced reading and writing levels in kindergarten and first grade. These pre-reading skills include an introduction to alphabet awareness, letter sounds, phonetic awareness, language comprehension, vocabulary, and story comprehension. In addition, children learn basic printing skills such as writing their own name, which prepares them for more advanced writing later on.
2. Learn Numbers
By the end of kindergarten, children in most states are expected to know a certain set of numbers. Preschool typically helps children in this regard by introducing them to the concept of numbers, as well as units of comparison and abstract concepts. For example, preschoolers learn concepts such as heavier, lighter, bigger, smaller, some, all, and none, as well as the numbers up to 31 used on calendars.
3. Social Interaction
Learning to get along with others is an important part of a child’s development. Because preschool is a social environment, children have the opportunity to learn how to build new friendships, greet new people, share and contribute to a group, and respect rules and personal boundaries.
Preschools are also the first time kids will encounter authoritative figures- teachers- apart from their parents. This is instrumental in teaching them how to associate and react to authoritative figures later on.
1. Too Regimented
Some preschool programs may be too structured for children that need to explore and learn at their own pace. Even if children are learning pre-academic skills, an overwhelming amount of structure can have a stifling effect on their personal development. So, much care needs to be taken while picking a preschool for kids. Speaking to parents of former students is one way to deal with this.
2. Child-to-Teacher Ratio
Along with the social benefits of preschool come the disadvantages of always being part of a group. Children also need one-on-one interaction for their development, and preschool classrooms with high children-to-teacher ratios are especially troubling. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends a six to one children-to-teacher ratio for 2 1/2- to 3-year-olds and a ten to one ratio for 4- and 5-year-olds.
But, thanks to much advance in online learning, online preschools for kids are a great way to learn. Not only do many online programs incorporate indoor and outdoor activities into their curriculum, the parent can spend time with their child and teach them right from home.
It really is up to the parents to decide whether their child should go to a preschool. There is no right or wrong decision here.