Did you know that 75% of young kids in the U.S. are enrolled in a preschool program? It?s no surprise that academic preschool programs are becoming increasingly popular. Not only do they offer parents an affordable childcare solution, but they also help kids prepare for grade school.
Some children take longer to learn the foundation concepts than others — learning them in a fun, engaging setting can help kids succeed in subjects like math and reading once they get to kindergarten.
Are you wondering what to look for in a high quality education preschool? Here are a few things worth keeping in mind.
Encouraging Creative Play
It seems to go against the grain to suggest that the best way for children to learn is to play. However, research is increasingly suggesting that uninterrupted, unguided, open-ended play is important for children to develop imagination, creativity, problem-solving skills, and even social skills — when adults are constantly overseeing and directing play, children aren?t working on developing interpersonal communication.
Foundations of Pre-Math and Pre-Literacy
High quality educators most certainly make a difference when it comes to choosing a high quality preschool. As NPR points out in a recent article, the best preschools not only hire qualified educators — they also invest in continuous educational courses so that they remain engaged in understanding the latest theories on how to encourage good learning and practical pedagogy. This way, even creative art projects can be used to stealthily teach math and lay the foundation for future understanding of concepts like subtraction, addition and multiplication. Academic preschool activities should combine fun and learning to create a love for education.
Good Teacher to Child Ratios
Staff to child ratios are important for ensuring that not only do kids have adequate supervision at all times, but also to ensure that the staff themselves are not constantly stressed out, which hardly creates a welcoming learning environment. Most agree that 1 to 12 ratios are the highest that are appropriate for preschool programs, though every state has different laws about this. The actual breakdown will rely on how many teachers there are versus aides, etc. Finding the right preschool sometimes means, at a very basic level, finding one that appropriately staffs.
What would you recommend looking for in academic preschool programs? We’d be interested in hearing your feedback. Would you generally agree with everything on this list?