As a parent, you know that many of your child’s advantages and experiences come from the programs he or she participates in. You understand that organized sports offer structure and physical activity, while music lessons cultivate your child’s talents and hone his or her fine motor skills.
But what about preschool? You may have heard conflicting ideas about how a child benefits from programs before he or she enters kindergarten. In this blog, we list six of the studied benefits of high-quality preschool programs.
- Better Aptitude for Adulthood
One of the best known preschool impact studies ever performed showed that children who attend preschool tend to become more productive members of society. The 25-year study showed that individuals who attended good preschool:
Had fewer arrests.
Had higher monthly income levels.
Required less or less frequent welfare assistance.
Were more likely to own a car and home.
- Decreased Externalization
In preschool, a child spends long periods of time interacting with his or her peers in a structured environment. In this setting, children learn how to make their own choices, share, and follow verbal instruction. Additionally, children become aware of their own emotions, learn to identify those emotions, and receive guidelines for expressing emotions in socially acceptable ways.
This environment of social and personal discovery helps children feel better understood, which decreases the impulse to externalize emotions. Children who progress in preschool atmospheres have fewer physical outbursts, because they learn to express their feelings in other ways.
- Detection of Learning Conditions
Many children experience difficulty in early education due to undiagnosed learning conditions, like dyslexia. Though your child won’t perform schoolwork in preschool, the program creates an atmosphere similar to kindergarten and early grades.
In this learning space, your child is more likely to report difficulties and less likely to hide struggles. Also, a preschool teacher likely has the education and experience necessary to identify the signs of a condition that could affect your child’s learning in the future. Most parents or even professional nannies don’t have the same learning condition recognition skills as preschool teachers.
- Higher Academic Motivation
Children who participate in preschool exhibit more academic motivation and aptitude throughout their school careers. The discovery and guided learning in quality preschool programs better prepares your child for the rigors of academia, from elementary and middle school to beyond a two-year college degree.
Children with a preschool background show smaller high school dropout rates and more educational diversity. The 25-year study referenced above showed that girls who attended preschool showed more inertia in academic achievement and a higher likelihood of jobs in male-dominated industries like engineering and mathematics.
- IQ Gains in Early Childhood
The earliest studies about the impact of preschool reported IQ increases in children who attended preschool. But many parents disregard these findings because more recent studies found that these gains level off in early elementary school.
While it’s true that preschool-related IQ gains do not overpower genetic and circumstantial IQ gains, these gains can give your child an advantage. The curriculum in the first several years of elementary school contains important fundamentals on which all future curriculum depends.
A child benefiting from the IQ gains of preschool can better learn these fundamentals. This solid understanding of foundational knowledge better prepares him or her to excel in the future.
- Improved Language Skills
When your child is in his or her infancy, you tell bedtime stories, sing simple songs, and talk to your child frequently to teach language skills. Most children have the entirety of their basic language skills by age six.
Placing your child in preschool at the age of three, four, or five gives him or her guidance during this critical learning period. High-quality preschool programs encourage natural language development occurring during these two stages:
Two to three years: By age three, your child uses complex and complete sentences. Most three-year-olds can be readily understood, even by strangers. Preschools give children in this stage a place to play and talk simultaneously as well as communicate with non-family members of all ages.
Three to five years: By the age of five, children have more than doubled their vocabulary. Children in this stage can express abstract ideas aloud. The storytelling, play, and communication present on a daily basis in preschool cultivates your child’s grammar skills, vocabulary, and abstract thinking.
As your child approaches age three, he or she can truly benefit from preschool attendance.
Of course, the quality of your child’s preschool program matters. If you think your child needs the support and education available at good preschool programs, contact local preschool providers. Learn more about the programs available in your area to find the best fit for your child.
Preschool can give your child the foundation he or she needs to succeed in school and life. Consider enrolling your child in preschool to provide the benefits listed above. To learn more about everyday learning, the Montessori methods, and preschool, read our other blog posts.