Quality preschooling benefits have been confirmed at a senate hearing today, although for increasingly large sections of the community, in the current economic downturn, many will say that even if there weren’t these benefits, they would still need childcare to enable both parents to work.
Choice in whether a parent can afford to give up work for parenting, would be nice and may be slipping away, but preschools are not all made equal and the quality of the experience they give their young charges clearly matters a lot.
Betty Zan, Director of the Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education told senate that “What’s important is the quality of the program. That is what research shows over and over and over” Zan told the Senate Education Committee. She related to those present how quality is ensured by new standards the state added when it began financing preschool education a few years ago. The standards include that preschool is taught by qualified teachers.
Preschool usually takes place during the year before the preparatory year, and is not compulsory. It is sometimes referred to as kindergarten. Preschool is the beginning point for educational standards later.
Preschool is really a first step down the road to growing up, and is a good time for children to become interested in counting, sorting, building shapes, measuring, and estimating. Quality mathematics teaching can be started at preschool and if taught throughout early childhood (preschool to grade 2) correctly gives children a great start. It does not involving pushing elementary arithmetic onto younger children in the best programs.
Children who do not attend preschool and are experiencing their first separation from parents may have a very hard time adjusting to school for the first time. Kids who are used to being apart from their parents often bounce right into preschool with hardly a backward glance. If your child hasn’t had many opportunities to be away from you, you might want to schedule some before they attend for the first time. A weekend with grandma, for instance, or a day with your sister and her kids can help wonderfully.
A generation back preschooling used to be the place where simply learning to be in school was paramount, however many preschools now assume that children have already learned this, and carry on with a program more academically advanced. Often there are options on attendance and children can attend 5 days per week or alternatively have the option of attending the 2 (Thu-Fri), or 3 (Mon – Wed) day groups only.
Some still argue that kids grow up way too fast these days and have plenty of time to be social all throughout their lives. This seems a doubtful reason for avoiding preschools, but some do on this and similar arguments.
However, preschool children are not under academic pressure, and teachers do still educate their little students at this age with songs, memory games, and story books. Don’t worry parents, drills, flash cards and tests are reserved for the older children in grade school.