Instilling values at an early age can go a long way to influence your child’s future. Even at a young age, children are learning at an accelerated rate that only decreases as they age; making use of this time is crucial to develop new skills, learning habits, and behaviors that will stick with them for life. Since nearly three out of four children in the United States are in some form of a preschool program, understanding the requirements for preschool programs in your area can help better determine the right kind of early childcare arrangement for your child.
Childcare in the United States
A majority of children attend daycare and similar childcare arrangements as their parents need to work. Not all childcare facilities are the same as some place a greater emphasis on entertaining or babysitting rather than education. Since children are better able to absorb information at this young age, ensuring that your childcare facility utilizes age-appropriate academic preschool activities to help your child learn and grow can be some of the best ways to guarantee that they will have a love for learning to help give them an edge above their peers when it comes time to attend school.
The Benefits of Preschool
There are a number of studies that show the benefit of academic preschool activities, particularly for at-risk children — children that attended a preschool program were at a decreased risk for getting arrested and dropping out of high school and were also more likely to attend college. Other studies suggest that children that participated in preschool education activities were able to read better than their peers. From 1990 to 2013 the percentage of children enrolled in preschool and early childhood education programs increased from 59% to 65%; as more information is gathered more and more parents are seeing the benefit of having their children participate in academic preschool activities to give them the head start they need to achieve academic excellence.
Finding the Right Preschool Program
There are a number of different kinds of programs that vary based on ratios, curriculum, and teaching approach. A low student to teacher ratio ensures that teachers have the opportunity to get to know each student on a personal level — this means that your child’s interests will be better catered to, as an interested student is easier to teach than a disinterested student. Early childhood education programs and preschools will typically adopt some kind of teaching philosophy that helps to emphasize a teaching approach: such approaches include Montessori education that emphasizes sensory engagement and play based education that emphasizes free time as an extension of learning. Every child learns differently, schedule a consultation with preschool programs in your area to determine which program best suits your child’s unique needs and interests.