Should you send your child to preschool? Research makes a compelling case for preschool education.
Many parents are struggling with the decision on whether they should start sending their children to preschool. For one, it may incur costs that otherwise will not be there especially if the child has a caregiver at home. More importantly though, parents feel they are taking away a huge part of their kid’s childhood when they are sent to school too early. This topic has been a source of concern for the government because of the implications towards a nation’s budget and its economy, that a lot of researchers have been asked to do latitudinal and longitudinal studies.
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The results of the research are clear: preschool education is important to your children. Claudio Sanchez of NPR writes about what preschool can do for young children.
Preschool makes sure that your child is ready.
Some of the nation’s top researchers who’ve spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool. Read more here!
Preschool curriculums that allow children to learn and socialize are beneficial to all children. It helps children be more prepared to take on formal education. Through core curriculums, children are better prepared for school. By playing with peers, children become more emotionally mature and are able to grasp the concept of collaboration. Most children who have undergone preschool are emotionally capable of being separated from their parents. They expect that they will have to deal with a different set of people because of their experience. For children who are bilingual, preschool helps them bridge the gap between their mother tongue and the second language that they are learning through interaction and social learning. Why can this not wait until a child is in kindergarten then? The Economist outlines why children should start as early as possible.
To get ahead, you will have to start early.
Some also question the emphasis on the age of four. New research suggests the achievement gap between rich and poor children starts far earlier—even right after birth. By 18 months children from disadvantaged homes are already several months behind in their vocabulary and language-processing abilities. Read more here!
Every development stage of a child is important. The first three years of your child are part of their formative years and what happens in these three years greatly determine what is ahead of them. Vocabulary and language, which are needed to succeed in life, are foundations that are laid very early on. You simply cannot take this stage for granted and put it off when your child is four. A parent should prepare their child the best way that they can and preschool is there to help. The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” still rings true to this day. Parents who provide their children a loving home can also help them relate with their peers through preschool. Sometimes, though, it’s not just about getting ahead. It’s also about helping children who aren’t doing so well in their early years. Jonah Lehrer, writing for wired.com, cites several studies on why preschool is important for children especially for disadvantaged kids.
Preschool bridges the gap for children despite socio-economic status.
Adults assigned to the preschool program were 20 percent more likely to have graduated from high school and 19 percent less likely to have been arrested more than five times. They got much better grades, were more likely to remain married and were less dependent on welfare programs. Read more here!
Before there was science to tell us why disadvantaged kids do poorly in school, society often just blames a child’s socioeconomic status. When further studies were conducted, it turns out that children who are more privileged get an early advantage because of their language-filled environment as well as the early education they have been provided. Parents from lower income statuses often cannot send their children to private preschools so this is where the government should step in. Governments must invest in preschool for disadvantaged children to provide them a nurturing environment. There is inherent brilliance in all children and we all just need to make sure we cultivate it.
To conclude, apprehension among parents on whether they should send their children to school is understandable. Preschool benefits children by making them more prepared socially, emotionally, and cognitively so this should alleviate any apprehension. It’s important that children even before formal schooling starts get the most out of their environment because the first formative years have long term effects in a child’s life. Finally, preschool helps disadvantaged children grow. It provides them the environment that they may be missing from their homes and governments must include it in their national budgets. Preschool is great for all children no matter what their background is.