What you need to promote and understand the value of a quality preschool program.
First, the big question, “Why should you support preschool in the first place?” You didn’t need it, maybe your kids didn’t need it. So, you may be asking,
“Is preschool really necessary?”
In reality, each family structure and parenting style is different and each opportunity for children is different in the home setting. There are many families that could provide the environment preschool age children need to develop to their full potential. But it takes dedication and time and a large variety of materials that foster and encourage exploration, creativity and learning. Many families may have the desire and motivation, but lack the time and resources.
Naturally, each family has to decide for themselves if they need preschool for their child, but here are some things for you to consider.
I hope you will agree that preschool programs are generally needed and worth supporting.
*1. We have all heard that the first 5 years is an important developmental time, in fact 90% of brain development happens in the first 6 years. At least, that’s what all the experts and studies are saying and showing. The variety of experiences preschoolers get helps them with thinking, reasoning, problem solving and estimation skills through. Things like:
Puzzles and mazes
Problem solving situations
*2. Kids in preschools are exposed to more creative activities than typically at home. This exposes them to different ways of thinking. Activities like:
Art & craft
Clay and dough
*3. Using large muscles in free play and directed activities help children develop their muscles and improves their physical strength, balance and coordination. Important in their ability to stay seated for longer periods, sit still and not fall out of their chairs, and not trip or fall from playground equipment. Activities like:
Catching & throwing
*4. Children who learn to be students in preschool handle the transition to formal school better and have an easier time adjusting. They have gained pre-reading and writing and math skills, understand daily routines and that there are times for learning and times for playing. They learn to:
Follow simple rules
*5. Being in preschool allows children opportunities to express their emotions by using their words in a safe and comforting environment. This helps them accept not always being first or having the right answer. This helps them handle their emotions with fewer outbursts and shorter duration. This makes fewer behavior problems in later stages of development too. They are able to:
Express their feelings
Become self regulated
*6. With smaller numbers of family members in our current generations, children have fewer individuals to interact with at home. Having meaningful conversations with both adults and kids of various ages helps them build vocabulary and develop communication skills. It also helps them cooperate with different ages groups and builds social skills that are necessary to navigate the social life of formal schooling. They build skills through:
Reading stories, telling stories and having them read to them from “real” books, not the smart board.
Singing songs and saying and hearing rhymes
Talking about and making stories from pictures
Pretend play, and puppets
Listening to others play, talk and work out problems
*They learn the basic and universal values of society: be kind and polite, say thank you and please, share, tell the truth, treat others the way you want to be treated. These universal values are taught in preschools and day cares that follow Early Learning Practices. For the Christian, it’s easy to see these values can be traced back to the Bible. Even though secular and/or government programs do not say they are Godly principles, or teach the principles from a religious position, they are good values to pass on to children in general. For those families that object to religious instruction for their preschoolers, public programs and secular preschools that follow Early Learning Practices are wonderful programs for development of the whole child. The benefit, whether a secular program or a Christian program outweigh the alternative of no program, or a poor quality program where children do not have the opportunities described above. I should also mention good things rub off on family members too! They learn about the developmental stages of their child and how to handle those challenging stages with positive approaches. If they want additional help, there are parenting workshops, articles and counseling resources we can refer them to that go beyond our scope of expertise.
I hope you can see the benefits of our community having a quality preschool program that teaches Godly values from a Biblical perspective. A program that gives children the greatest opportunity to reach their full potential during the most critical time of development.