It is common knowledge that a child’s brain is developing at a rapid rate between birth to age five. Although babies are born with all the brain cells (or neurons) they need, as they grow, their brains are forming many neural connections.
Our brain is the most malleable to changes in early childhood. Neural connections can also be lost if they are not used and reinforced as the brain continues to develop.
During this time, the things that your child learns will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Here lies the importance of good preschool education in developing your child’s knowledge and capabilities.
When your child experiences anything new, it can form a new neural connection. So, it is necessary to provide the right environment and resources to encourage maximum brain development. Such experiences help to develop and strengthen their neural connections.
Many studies have proven that children who have gone through preschool are able to perform better at school later on.
With the help of play, activities, and fun, preschool education is quite effective in developing important 21st-century skills, traits, and abilities that your child needs to thrive in this technological age.
Many parents still feel unsure as they believe their child is too young for preschool or early childhood education.
However, the benefits to the child far outweigh the reasons that may deter some parents.
So, if you are still undecided, here are 8 reasons why it is good for your child.
1. Your child will develop social and emotional skills
When your child goes to a preschool, they begin to interact with children of their own age and sometimes a little older and make friends.
They are able to learn and develop social skills such as playing together, sharing, negotiation, and conflict resolution.
Also, in preschool, they get to know adults other than those in their family. It helps them to learn to communicate with adults with authority and improves their listening skills.
They understand and talk about their emotions as well as develop an understanding of other people’s feelings. Learning to communicate more effectively is also an important skill that they will practice regularly.
2. Your child will develop pre-math and pre-literacy skills
Through various fun and interesting activities, your child can learn a lot of things that are important for future academic success.
The teachers usually help the children build their vocabulary through songs, stories, and other interactive activities.
Children are made familiar with the concept of numbers, patterns, objects, and shapes in various ways.
3. Your child will develop motor skills
In preschool, your child gets many opportunities to participate in a wide array of activities such as walking, running, balancing, jumping, and using a range of fine and gross motor skills to accomplish tasks. They also develop greater physical awareness and hand-eye coordination.
Doing various physical and arts & craft activities helps to strengthen their developing fine and gross motor skills.
4. Your child will develop cognitive skills
Your child is provided with the opportunity to develop crucial cognitive skills. They develop the ability to pay attention, remember, think, and learn.
Together, these skills are important to help your child process any new information, work on multiple tasks, and work quickly without making mistakes, solve problems, use reasoning and think logically.
5. Your child’s curiosity and imagination are stimulated
The different activities that take place at preschool help to develop and strengthen the innate curiosity of your child to explore and learn.
When your child gets the chance to take part in unstructured play, they are able to explore the world in their own way without many of the restrictions of home life.
As a child, it is natural to be curious, and it may not always make sense to an adult, but it is important that their curiosity, imagination, and creativity is not only sparked but fanned.
6. Your child will learn to take care of themselves and others
At the preschool, your child will learn to do little things by themselves. This will help to develop a sense of independence.
When your child is able to take care of themselves, they are encouraged to help others who are not able to.
7. Your child is able to be in a structured setting
In preschool, children have to follow a structure that provides them with security. They learn to follow what adults ask of them including organizational rules, being part of a group, and other such important skills in a formal structured setting.
This helps them to understand and respect structure allowing them to perform better in school.
8. Your child develops confidence
As your child learns and masters new skills and abilities, they start to develop self-confidence. This enables them to develop greater insights into their interests, likes, and dislikes while also helping them to overcome their fear of failure.
Most parents are aware of the importance of early education but also understand they may not be able to provide the optimum environment to foster learning.
Your child gets exposure to a wide variety of resources, activities, and people, which might not be possible at home.
At quality preschools, teachers are trained in early childhood education and able to make sure all children are getting adequate attention and opportunity for development.
Also trained educators are able to detect any development and behavioral issues early on, enabling early intervention.
It is also important to note that preschool education can provide the most benefits if the child is also given adequate care and attention at home.
As a parent, you will need to encourage them to participate in different household activities and praise their achievements and efforts.
You will need to provide adequate space for them to make mistakes. Doing so is important in facilitating their overall personality development. It will teach them to overcome problems, failures, and shortcomings.
As a parent, you want to provide the best for your child to enhance their overall development. You may have heard of the Montessori education model for early childhood learning. Here is a rundown on what it entails.
What is Montessori Education?
It refers to an educational methodology that was developed after much scientific research by Maria Montessori. Its focus is on the developmental stages of children.
There are several tangible benefits for children:
- Each child is seen as a distinct and unique person
- Focus on pivotal developmental milestones
- Development of a wide variety of skills
- Traits of confidence, independence, and emotional maturity are inculcated
- Greater agency for children in the learning process
Who Was Maria Montessori?
Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was a pioneer in educational methodology that is still practiced worldwide.
She observed children and noticed that they showed similar patterns of development. This led to her developing an educational system that bears her name.
Besides that, she was among the first female physicians in Italy at a time when it was considered to be a man’s job.
During her lifetime, she had worked on developing education for children after doing extensive research. She named her work as scientific pedagogy or scientific education. She also spent time lecturing in various parts of the world.
She was also nominated 6 times for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
What had she said about Early education?
While observing children, Maria had noticed four distinct stages or planes of human development. In the first phase, from birth until six years, a child goes through tremendous physical and psychological growth.
During this time, the child progresses through two phases, which require different environments to provide optimum development.
The first part starts from the birth of a child until the age of 3 years. During this time, the focus is on developing the motor and language skills of infants and toddlers. This is the time children start to develop confidence, independence, and a sense of self. These are quite necessary for comprehensive toddler development. It lays the foundation for the child’s growth in the later years.
In the next phase named “Primary” between the ages of 3 to 6 years, children get the chance to explore using their imagination and creativity. The child goes through preschool and kindergarten in this period. During this age, children are like sponges and can take in much information.
It is important to utilize this sensitive period to develop skills and traits in children geared to help them to succeed and do well in the later stages of their life.
How is Montessori education better than conventional education?
While traditional education is the norm in most schools, it is an older system and not optimal for twenty-first-century learning. It focuses on rote learning and discipline.
Such transmission-based learning is centered on the teacher as bankers of knowledge-making deposits where children are limited to receive whatever information they are being provided. In the Montessori system, things are quite different.
Focus on the overall development
Conventional education focuses on academics and the preparation of standardized tests. The Montessori model focuses on the social, emotional, and spiritual development of the child as well as academic domains. Moreover, Learning is not just to memorize facts but for a better comprehension of concepts.
A major feature of the Montessori model is that the children get to study in groups consisting of children in different age groups. This setup allows them to learn collaboratively as well as instills leadership qualities. It also allows for greater flexibility in the level they are placed in which will depend on their development and not merely on their age. The younger children get to learn from their older counterparts. Older children are benefitted as they learn to be patient and caring as well as facilitate the learning of their younger friends.
Better teacher to student ratio
The Montessori model of education is child-centered. With a smaller teacher to student ratio, children get individual attention from their teachers. They are allowed to learn at their own pace. As they grasp the basic concepts, they move ahead to the advanced topics.
The teacher collaborates with the child
This is totally different from the traditional classroom setup where the teacher leads and children follow. The Montessori model encourages children to work as per their comfort level, and the teacher’s role is mainly as a guide and shows them how to learn.
Children lead the learning process
In the traditional setup, everything is fixed by the adults as per what they feel is required by children. Children are forced to follow the same pattern and are pushed through a standard planned curriculum. They become passive participants in the process, and their specific requirements are not given any attention.
However, Montessori education believes that children will learn better if they are given a choice and as much time as they need. Children are given agency to focus on their interest and their weakness are addressed through a strength-based approach.