Preschool provides a foundation for learning, both socially and academically. Young children are naturally curious and observant. They want to learn the skills that their families and society value. To prepare children for the academic demands of school, teachers will offer a wide variety of games and activities that will help them to acquire necessary academic skills but also social skills.
Preschool is an opportunity for kids to be in a structured setting
Preschool is an opportunity for them to be in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children where they will learn to share and follow instructions, raise their hand when they want to ask a question, take turns, and share the teacher’s attention. Every child should have this sort of group experience before they start school.
Preschool will prepare children for elementary school where things get more academic. Don’t be afraid that focus on development of pre-math and pre-literacy skills will make your child grow up too soon. These will not cut into important play time that every child deserves. A high-quality childhood education offers both. In fact, these programs are based on learning through play, so learning will be fun for your kid.
Preschool will help your child develop socially and emotionally. In preschool, your children will learn how to compromise, be respectful towards others, and solve problems. Preschool will provide a place where your child will gain a sense of self, explore, play with their peers, and build confidence. Kids in preschool usually discover that they are capable and that they can do things for themselves instead of always asking mommy to step in. They will learn wonders – from small tasks like pouring their own juice and helping set snack tables, to tackling bigger issues like making decisions on how to spend their free time.
Preschool will help your children find answers to their numerous questions. The fact is that 4 and 5-year-olds will start asking some wonderful questions about the world around them, like “what happens to the water after the rain? Do birds play?” Even you as a parents might become confused when trying to answer some of their questions, but the preschool will make your job easier. It will teach your children to find answers through exploration, experimentation, and conversation.
They will learn their ABCs and 123s. Young children will learn letters and numbers in preschool, but at their own pace and through playing games. Preschool does not sit kids down and ‘teach’ them because that would be the wrong way to do it. Instead, they teach them through doing various kinds of activities your kids find interesting, like story-time, talking to the teachers about stars, playing with blocks, etc. For example, to help kids learn language and strengthen their pre-reading skills, teachers in preschool play rhyming games and let kids tell stories. To help kids learn pre-math skills, teachers will ask their little students to count food items during snack time, use calendar to count down days to their long awaited preschool play, or play memory games with them.
Why preschool is important?
Preschool is an opportunity for growth For many children, preschool is their first experience in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children. It’s an opportunity to learn, to share, follow instructions, and begin the foundation for learning that will occur in elementary school.
Preschool prepares children for kindergarten Parents may worry that the current trend to focus on pre-math and pre-literacy skills in preschool cuts into important play time and pushes a child to grow up too fast. It’s a confusing issue, especially with friends and family offering different opinions and advice. Fortunately, in selecting a preschool, parents aren’t forced to choose between protecting a child’s play time and making sure she’s ready for kindergarten. A high-quality early childhood education program will offer children both. But how do high-quality preschools benefit children’s learning and development? And what features should parents look for in a preschool program? One answer to these questions is that the staff at high-quality preschools and child care programs understand the particular ways that young children develop and learn. And they organize space, time and activities to be in sync with children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical abilities.
Preschool promotes social and emotional development In order to learn, a young child needs to feel cared for and secure with a teacher or caregiver. A 3-year-old child is able to spend time away from parents and build trusting relationships with adults outside the family. High-quality preschool programs nurture warm relationships among children, teachers and parents. And teachers build a close personal connection with each child in their care. Children thrive when there is consistency in care between home and school. In high-quality preschools, teachers value parents as the experts on their children. Parents get daily reports on their child’s activities and regular meetings are scheduled for more in-depth conferences with staff. Teachers strive to understand and respect parents’ child-rearing goals and values.
Young children learn social skills and emotional self-control in “real time.” Three- and 4-year-olds learn through their experiences and good teachers make time for those “teachable moments” when they can help children learn to manage frustrations or anger. They don’t automatically step in to resolve children’s conflicts for them; they have a well-honed sense of when to let children work out their own problems and when to intervene. Without shaming a child, they encourage her to notice the impact of her aggressive or hurtful behavior on another child.
The preschool environment is structured, although it may not appear that way A highly structured environment helps young children learn to make friends and play well with others. This doesn’t mean there are lots of rules or that adults constantly direct children’s activities. On the contrary, the structure of a high-quality preschool classroom is largely invisible to children. Classroom space is organized to encourage social interaction, and minimize congestion and conflicts.
Children get to make choices Children have several choices of activities; a child who is wandering aimlessly is encouraged to choose one that interests him. Teachers are alert to a child who can’t figure out how to enter other children’s play and may offer him suggestions on ways to join the group.
Children learn to take care of themselves and others Children’s sense of competence and self-worth grow as they learn to take care of themselves and help others. Teachers appeal to a young child’s desire to engage in “real work” by offering him chances to help out in the classroom, for example, by setting the table at snack time or feeding the classroom hamster. Children are expected to wash their hands before snack time, keep personal belongings in their “cubby,” and put away toys before moving to a new activity. Teachers also encourage a child to view herself as a resource for other children. For example, a teacher might ask a child who’s more competent at pouring water to help a child who is learning. Or she might ask a “veteran” preschooler to show a newcomer where the sand toys are kept.
Throughout their school years, much of children’s learning will take place in the company of their peers. In a high-quality preschool program, children are introduced to the behaviors required to function successfully in a kindergarten classroom. For example, during group activities such as “circle time,” children learn to focus attention on the teacher, listen while others are speaking, and wait their turn to talk.
Preschool promotes language and cognitive skills Preschool-age children’s language skills are nurtured in a “language-rich” environment. Between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary grows from 900 to 2,500 words, and her sentences become longer and more complex. In a conversational manner, and without dominating the discussion, teachers help children stretch their language skills by asking thought-provoking questions and introducing new vocabulary during science, art, snack time, and other activities. Children have many opportunities to sing, talk about favorite read-aloud books, and act out stories.
A young child’s cognitive skills are strengthened by engaging in a wide range of hands-on activities that challenge her to observe closely, ask questions, test her ideas or solve a problem. However, teachers understand that preschool children are not logical in the adult sense of the word; their explanations of what makes a plant grow or why people get old, may not involve cause and effect. For example, “people get old because they have birthdays.” They may rely on their senses and “magical thinking” rather than on reason to explain why wood floats in water and rocks sink – “The rock likes to be on the bottom because it’s cooler.”
Preschool teachers nurture a child’s curiosity Teachers observe, ask questions and listen to children’s ideas during these activities — “correct” answers are not the goal. To nurture their curiosity and motivation to learn, teachers use children’s interests and ideas to create activities. And even a simple, chance event – such as a child’s discovery of a snail in the outdoor play area — can be turned into an exciting opportunity to learn. Preschool-age children have active imaginations and learn through make-believe play. Teachers know that the line between reality and fantasy is often not clear to a young child. Sometimes this results in fears of monsters under the bed. But imagination also fuels learning. For example, when a group of children creates a make-believe pet store, they will practice many social and cognitive skills as they assign roles to each child, figure out categories of pet supplies and how to organize them, make signs to label products; help their “customers” select the right shampoo or cat toy; and take “money” for merchandize.
The imaginary play area in a high-quality preschool is well-stocked with costumes, “props,” and child-size household items such as stoves, sinks and cupboards. It’s often in this activity area that preschool-age children progress steadily from solitary play, to one-on-one play, to complicated group play.
Preschool activities boost pre-math and literacy skills Young children show growing interest in pre-math and pre-literacy skills. They are curious and observant, and they want to be competent in the skills that their families and society value — such as reading the instructions for assembling a toy, or selecting the correct bills or coins to pay for a purchase. To prepare children for the academic demands of kindergarten, teachers offer a wide variety of games and activities that help children acquire the pre- math and literacy skills. Singing an alphabet song while following along in a picture book builds a child’s awareness of the connections between alphabet letters and word sounds. Learning rhymes and chants helps them to notice the distinct sounds within words. Engaging children in a discussion about an exciting read-aloud story encourages their listening, comprehension, and expressive language skills. Playing with magnetic alphabet letters may inspire a child to ask a teacher to help her write the first letter of her name. Matching games, sorting games, counting games, and board games build children’s understanding of number, categories and sequence, which supports later math learning. Putting together puzzles encourages children to notice patterns, plan ahead and problem-solve. To sustain children’s excitement and motivation for learning, high-quality preschool and child care programs introduce early literacy and math skills not as isolated exercises, but in the context of activities that are interesting and meaningful to children.
Preschool helps develop motor skills Physical coordination improves, allowing the child to explore her environment — and to challenge herself-in new ways. Young children are in motion for a good part of the day. High-quality preschool programs provide several opportunities daily for children to run, climb, and play active games. Activities are offered to help children develop fine motor skills, such as threading beads or cutting with scissors. And children are challenged through a variety of activities to build their hand-eye coordination and balance.
Importance of Preschool Education Going to Pre School is ‘A small step for a giant exposure in a child’s life’ This is the first exercise in which children are separated from the comfort and secure zone of their parents. Therefore, it has to be a place which is a second home to the child; a place, which has enough material to attract and make the child feel comfortable and secure.
This is the first place where the child builds his/her self-esteem. A child learns the importance of his own name, things and friends. Every child learns to communicate with his teachers and fellow students in the Pre School. It is the right place for the child’s foundation for lifelong progress. The skills and knowledge that the child develops in the Pre School have a great impact on the aptitude and attitude of the child later in life.
Researches on Pre School education have shown that children taught at an early age usually have improved social skills, fewer behavioural problems and better grades without special and attention. Self confidence gained by learning in a playful manner adds to the personality development of the child.
The child’s positive learning attitude, the basic foundation in language, comprehension and management, help the teacher facilitate the child’s learning at kindergarten and higher levels of education.
Moreover childhood education specialists claim that young children learn best when they have an opportunity to interact with their peers, and their parents and instructors treat them kindly. They bloom well in a tension free environment. Besides they comprehend and learn things better if they are introduced to new things in small portions.
SALIENT FEATURES OF A PRE SCHOOL: - A good head start for learning - Teaching in a fun filled way play method - Putting children on a path of lifelong learning - Higher development in language and mathematical skills. - A great opportunity to develop social skills. - Exposure to enhance communication skills.
LEARNING GOALS IN A PRE SCHOOL: - Children learn a great deal in preschool. The emphasis is on the cognitive development of the child as learning is due to practice and interaction in a big group.
- Social interaction is the second most important feature of Preschool education. The kids learn to interact with children of their own age in a supervised environment.
- Playing with mud, holding crayons, practicing free colouring and writing on board helps in motor development of the children. Both fine motor & gross motor development takes place by the various activities performed in the classroom under the supervision of trained teachers.
- The child is prepared for the curriculum of the structured schools.
- They learn to identify their belongings like their own bag, tiffin, napkin and water bottle. These are the real treasures of the children of this age.
- The children are involved in oral activities like poem recitation, storytelling, role-playing, singing songs, hymns and prayers. All these activities help in improving their oratory skills. They learn to speak in groups. They also develop the confidence of speaking in front of small groups. Repeated recitations of poems and story enactments on stage
- Children get toilet trained.
- Time management is another important feature of preschool. Children learn assembly time, circle time, play time, tiffin time, story time and fun time.
- Phonological awareness – is the most important feature of preschool education. Children learn to identify the sounds of the alphabet. They learn to recognize the alphabet by listening to the sound.
- Pre writing skills developed by the use of colouring with crayons and writing on blackboard with chalk in free style manner.
BASIC ESSENTIAL FACILITIES PROVIDED BY A PRE SCHOOL: - A neat and hygienic environment. - Trained soft speaking teachers. - Semi-skilled helpers. - Colourful classrooms. - Plenty of toys, bicycles and block building games. - A rest corner in the classroom. - Drawing black or green boards. - Sand pits. - Play ground. - Flash cards to identify letters, animals, vegetables and colours. - Close proximity from home. - Good and safe transport facility. - Good and clean toilets. - Clean and filtered drinking water. - Restricted working hours (working not more than 5 days a week and not more than 3 to 4 hours in a day.)