THE VALUE OF PRESCHOOL

Oct 24, 2018 | 0 comments

Oct 24, 2018 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

THE VALUE OF PRESCHOOL

Table of Contents

THE VALUE OF PRESCHOOL 1

Introduction 1

Kinds Of Preschool Development Areas 2

Social and emotional development 2

World knowledge and understanding 2

Creative development 3

Literacy 3

Self-help skills 3

Mathematical and scientific development 4

Teamwork: 4

General Areas Of Development In Preschool 4

Physical heath, coordination and movement 4

Social development 5

Learning approaches: 5

General knowledge 5

Communication and language 6

Purpose Of Preschool 6

Learn structure 6

Social skills: 7

Mastering learning skills 7

Jumpstart kindergarten 8

Appropriate Age For Preschool 9

Independence 9

Has spent time away from home 9

Benefits Of Preschool 10

Licensing 10

Variety 10

Professionalism 10

Structure 10

Socialization 11

CONCLUSION 11

REFERENCES 11

Introduction

A preschool is also known as a nursery school and is defined as an establishment that offers early education to the children. The onset of preschool begins in the industrial era. At the time, majority of the children received basic education at home with the help of nannies and parents. This is before proceeding to primary education which in most cases was at boarding school. Mothers who could not afford nannies and needed to work in the factories to support their families felt that their children were at a disadvantage. Campaigns began to establish institutions that could give such children basic academic knowledge in reading, writing and number work.

The first preschool was opened in Britain and with its success several other institutions opened their doors for the education of young children. The idea was quite popular with the nobility social class and soon gained fame with middle and lower social classes. Today, preschool is almost guaranteed for each child. However, there are some who question the importance of these programs in as far as education is concerned. Critics are often clear in stating that the preschool skills can easily be mastered with the help of parents at home, in a much safer environment which allows bonding of children and parents in the early formative years. While this is true, (Vinovskis 23) states that preschool is not just about academic skills for the children, these institutions also offer social, adaptive and vital experiences in an all-round child. Today, there is much emphasis put into preschool with parents might for, working towards and booking places in renowned preschools. This is out of the belief that the right preschool builds the foundation for the child’s achievement curve in later life.

Kinds Of Preschool Development Areas

Preschool is ideal for handling various circles in a child’s development. Majority of the critics of preschool focus only on academic achievement and learning, but preschool is much more that academics for the young ones.

Social and emotional development: while at home, toddlers often grow attached and dependent on parents. Their emotional development goes only as far as crying and perhaps making demands with actions. Pre-school allows young children to interact with others for a few hours in a day. During these hours, they make new friends, engage in a variety of activities and master their own independence. They are able to make decisions, choices and even develop simple emotions such as patience because they are away from home. (Zigler et al. 11) states that pre-school is the most ideal ground for toddlers to gather information and experience the reality of gender roles. Children move from what is often termed as parallel play often experienced in play group to group play. Parallel play is whereby each child though in a group are playing individual games. On the other hand, group play means that children are now playing with each other.

World knowledge and understanding: prior to preschool, toddlers have only interacted with the environment in their home and perhaps play group. They have little if any knowledge and awareness of the world that exists beyond them. In preschool they not only interact with other children who are different from them, physically, socially and even in abilities; they also get to learn more about the world and understand different aspects of the society. In essence preschool, is a child’s first interaction with the real world.

Creative development: although the preschool curriculum is directed at academic learning, it is also equally focused on creative skill development. It is through preschool that parents are able to gauge the creative skills of their children. The children engage in a variety of activities, from drawing, coloring, narration and different other hobbies which allow experimentation with their creative abilities.( Schweinhart et al . 144) suggests that sometimes children can surprise even their own parents by developing skills which parents were not aware existed. He gives an example of shy children who are surprisingly good with narration o stories.

Literacy: of course at the foundation of all these developmental skills is the ability of a child to gain literacy. Children acquire reading skills, numbering as well as writing skills. (Zigler et al. 90) state that when reporting to pre-school, children cannot differentiate between different letters, either tell a number from another. Even those who can, only possess basic reading skills, basic numbering and poor and unstructured writing skills. The professionals at the preschools are well trained in assisting children to navigate through the difficulties of becoming literate. Children are able to acquire reading skills, writing skills and numbering skills much faster and more skillfully. This sets a proper foundation to navigate the academic world.

Self-help skills: while in pre-school, young toddlers are encouraged and often navigated towards their own independence. Majority of the toddlers have grown overly reliant on the adults in their lives. They lack the basic skills to take care of themselves and navigate through the day. Pre-school encourages the children who have no one to assist them to become self-sufficient under the supervision of a skilled professional. They are often proud and geared towards learning something new and acquiring a new skill that will reduce their dependence such as dressing themselves, tying their own shoes and cleaning up or tidying their own space. Within no time, the young dependent child becomes an independent and sometimes vociferous child. Basic skills can be taught and introduced at school easily and emphasized at home.

Mathematical and scientific development: for parents at home, the most difficult subject to educate a child on is usually mathematical skills. While teaching which number comes before or after another can be quite simple, the true mathematical skills are often much more difficult. Addition and subtraction may not be as easy to teach as number work, (Umek et al. 568). Pre-school teachers however are able to take up these complexities and make them much easier and simpler or children. In the two years that children are in preschool, they are able to acquire mathematical skills as well as the basic process of scientific knowledge.

Teamwork: class activities force children together, group activities outside class play the same function. Only a few hours are spent in school in individual activities. Children therefore learn to bring together their own strengths and skills and work together as a team. (Diamond et al. 1387) cites that conflict management skills and teamwork enhancement are some of the most vital skills established in these activities. Teachers encourage even children who are considered shy and unsocial into team activities in a manner that is most suitable for them. Through partnerships and group work, a young toddler is able to also develop leadership skills.

General Areas Of Development In Preschool

Physical heath, coordination and movement :Preschool focuses on the development of the small and large muscles in your child. Parents are often advice to select an excellent school with a large playground and playground facilities which allow the child to develop coordinated movement. While a home, the child often plays in unstructured games which have or require simple movements, at preschool the play is structured to encourage muscle coordination, movement and physical fitness. (Barnett 98) compared children homeschooled and those who have attended the two years. He found that the children in preschool showed 36% higher chances of being healthier. They often excelled in sport even later in life, having acquired the basic skills, coordination and also interest in sport. Muscle control is vital in the early years of development and can be easily achieved through structured play.

Social development: as stated before children often engage with others and with adults. Through his engagement children begin to develop confidence when interacting with others and with adults as well. Parents are likely to notice a difference in how their children interact with others and even with them. Friendships and grouping become more common as children develop social skills.

Learning approaches: (Umek et al. 568) suggests that this is a skill that is more useful to the parents and teachers of the child. However, it is also important for the child and in fact is often measured by the achievement of the child. Children learn differently and at different paces, it is important to note this in order to structure the objectives of academic learning. There exist strong links between positive learning approaches and academic excellence. Children development of a learning approach begins in preschool. Here, a child is able to identify how best to master specific skills including reading and writing.

General knowledge: this helps children to develop idea thinking skills and figure out for themselves how the world works. According to (Umek et al. 569), this skill often leads to much curiosity. Children begin asking questions about matters that previously held no interest for them. They may actually begin questioning how things are done and even changing their own routines. It is when these development begins that children begin to show some bit of stubbornness and rebellion as they question everything they have been taught previously. Through the structure of preschool, this skill can be developed to become a source of knowledge rather than a hindrance to knowledge.

Communication and language: communication is not only the activity involved in sending across a message, it is the entire process of sending a message, ensuring the message has been understood and listening for feedback. It is these skills that a child develops in preschool. Children engage with each other and adults, learning the right way to say something and proper communication etiquette. In addition, children are able to learn different languages. Of course pre-schools tend to focus on proper development and communication in English. However, children are also able to master secondary languages such as French and Spanish. Children who begin learning a secondary language in preschool are more likely to become fluent in the later early primary school years. This is the main reason why many preschools have introduced secondary languages in the curriculum. Parents are often determined to get their children into schools teaching secondary languages.

Purpose Of Preschool

Perhaps the most debated issue today in early academics, is if preschool plays any vital role in children. Major critics indicate that pre-school is simply an excuse for parents to get away from their children. They instead advocate for children to stay at home, avoiding the pressures of pre-school. Others indicate that the pre-school environment forces toddlers to take on too much responsibility a situation which leads them to develop academic problem and school disabilities. However, it should be noted that pre-school like any other functional institution has a purpose in society and plays a significant role in the development of a child.

Learn structure: the activities of preschool are vital in helping the child learn the importance o structure. It is to be remembered that until now, the child has operated in a general structure that often changes to their benefit. Should they nap for example just before play group, parents are likely to leave the child napping. Pre-school on the other hand is completely structured, they must get to school on time, attend classes as scheduled and attend to all class activities as required. Children often have to learn these skills before attending kindergarten. Children introduced to structure in the early years of pre-school are used to it by the time they get to kindergarten they are able to adjust much better and perform much better because they are well adapted as opposed to children who are not aware of and have not experienced structure. Preschool helps the child to develop class etiquette, they are aware of the classroom rules and what is expected of them in the structure of class.

Social skills: while home school provides an ideal environment for the child to learn at their own pace; it has often been criticized for the simple fact that it lacks the ability to encourage a child’s social skills. Children are not able to interact with other new children and adults. When such children get into kindergarten the social environment becomes completely scary. They are often unable to make new friends and interact with other children becoming withdrawn from the others even where team activities are required. Other social skills that are developed include proper communication etiquette. For example, during group work in class; children learn to work together, speak to each other, share their items and listen. During presentation, the children learn to listen to the teacher and be quiet while the other child speaks. When such children have gotten to kindergarten, they are aware how to make group work a success and are therefore more likely to enjoy school. While it is possible to learn some social skills in the home, interaction allows the children to put into practice these skills.

Mastering learning skills: the ability to acquire knowledge preps children for higher institutions such as elementary school. (Vinovskis 78) indicates that children are able to expand their own vocabulary and the ability to learn properly in pre-school. This is simply because they are exposed to an environment which encourages mystery and parties of these skills. At this age, children are able to learn not just through memory but mainly by practice. With their own peers, practice is at a maximum. Researchers have found that children who have attended preschool, have a higher learning curve when compared to children who have not attended preschool.

Jumpstart kindergarten: subject matter taught in preschool is ideal to jumpstart your child’s understanding and grasping of kindergarten curriculum. Basic coloring, number work and language skills are developed in preschool. Children who have attended preschool tend to be far much ahead of the class when they get to kindergarten. While other children are still mastering how to hold crayons and pencils, a preschool graduate is already writing and flowing in reading. This also gives the child confidence in their own abilities. When a child is confident, they are able to learn much faster and to master various aspects of the subject matter. (Zigler et al. 67) concludes that preschool years are vital towards the successful development of your child’s brain ability. The preschool years set the pace for the successful later academic years of your child. Children who have attended preschool tend to be more inclined towards grasping new academic material quickly.

(Schweinhart et al. 143) conducted a long term study comparing the rate of success for children who have attended pre-school and those who have not. They found that pre-school children had a tendency of earning much higher income, perhaps due to their higher academic performance and the confidence which they possess. In addition, they also found that preschool children tend to develop their talents much easier thereby setting a foundation for their own success. They finally concluded, in addition to all these preschool children have lesser chances of engaging in criminal behavior and delinquent actions such as drug taking and alcoholism. They are more centered and in the troubling teenage years, they tend to perform much better as opposed to other children.

Appropriate Age For Preschool

Majority of the preschool begin accepting children into their institutions at two and a half years. The institutions insist that whereas a child o two years may show exceptional signs of developmental hurdles and maturity, they are simply not ready for structured learning in preschool. On the other hand, simple because a child has reached two and a half years, does not magically mean that they are ready for preschool. (Vinovskis 67) indicates that whereas the two and half years mark sets the bar for a child’s readiness to attend preschool, the decision is to be based on some developmental marks rather than age alone. Age on its own can be a misguiding concept in judging the child’s readiness to attend preschool. The following suggestions have been made for observations that need to go with the age:

Independence: this means that the child can complete basic tasks on their own. Majority of the preschools or example require that the child be potty trained, meaning they can attend to the toilet functions on their own without help. Simple tasks such as dressing and cutting away their things should be easily completed. This is because the child may need to do things on their own with minimum supervision.

Has spent time away from home: preschool introduces a complete new environment where the child will need to be away from family members. A child who comes straight from home, having sent all the time with family tends to be more traumatized by the experience of preschool. Parents are often advice to take the child to daycare or play group, where they learn to spend some few hours away from them. Sometime away from the home and their parents prepares them for the separation anxiety that could arise when they join preschool.

Benefits Of Preschool

Licensing: day care centers and play groups do not have to abide to the strict rules and regulations that preschool work with. Licensing of preschool is a much stricter and difficult process. This means that the schools have to meet a certain level of professionalism and even maintain a certain level of quality. It is important to note that the preschool business environment involves much competitions. If a school fails to maintain a particular standard, chances are that it will be overtaken by competition. For this reason, parents can be assured that what is advertised is what they will actually get without any changes or dilution.

Variety: preschool is not only about academics, there is often a wide variety of activities that are involved in the curriculum. These activities are aimed at developing the child’s multitude of talents and skills. These skills often prove vital in judging a child’s strength and charisma. From playgroup, to arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor activities, children experience a wide variety of suitable activities for their age.

Professionalism: pre-schools are run by trained teachers. Teachers need to acquire some form of professional training in managing and teaching the young children. Parents can be therefore assured that their children will be handled professionally and receive professional care in the preschool. These teachers are also well trained to introduce new subject matter to the children in a simplistic manner. Preschool children therefore have a higher chance of successfully grasping foreign subject matter.

Structure: preschool is built on structures, schedules and rules which must be followed by all who are involved. Parents need to adhere to rule such as time to bring in the children and pick them up. On the other hand, children begin to master the importance of a schedule. This helps them to develop self-control and patience, for example knowing that they need to complete art work before going outside to play or even having a snack. This skill is crucial in preparing the child for kindergarten, where class schedules, timing and rules are taken seriously.

Socialization: a preschool aged child has probably had little if any opportunity to interact with children his own age. He has been more focused on interacting with adults, parents, siblings and probably nannies who care for them. The preschool environment offers an ideal place to interact with other children. This allows the child to master skills such as proper communication, sharing, waiting turns and making of new friends. In later years, in kindergarten the child adjusts much more easily and has an easier time making new friends.

CONCLUSION

Recent focused studies have shown the benefits that accrue from sending children to preschool. What was previously considered a simple way to engage the child, while parents were at work is quickly becoming a booming and competitive way to set the pace for a child’s academic excellence. Despite the raging debates, all agree that preschool is most deal way to get a child ready for school. However, the programs in the preschool need to be structured so that they include a wide variety and are flexible to suit the needs of specific children.

REFERENCES

Barnett, W. Steven. Lives in the Balance: Age-27 Benefit-Cost Analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program. Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, Number Eleven. Monograph Series, High/Scope Foundation, 600 North River Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48198-2898, 1996.

Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007). Preschool program improves cognitive control. Science (New York, NY), 318(5855), 1387.

Marjanovič, Umek L, Simona Kranjc, Urška Fekonja, and Katja Bajc. “”The Effect of Preschool on Children’s School Readiness.” Early Child Development and Care. 178.6 (2008): 569-588.

Schweinhart, Lawrence J. Significant Benefits: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study through Age 27. Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. Ten. High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 600 North River Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48198-2898, 1993.

Vinovskis, Maris A. The Birth of Head Start: Preschool Education Policies in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Zigler, Edward, Walter S. Gilliam, and Stephanie M. Jones. A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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