Every parent wants the best for their child. One of the most difficult things in life is balancing your own work responsibilities, hobbies, and duties with raising a child who not only feels all of the love that you have for him or her, but also grows up understanding the importance of education, a good moral compass, and how to treat others well. For many parents the weight of this starts to accumulate when beginning the process of finding the right preschool for their child. And while you are certainly going to want to start early with high quality education, there are other things to look for in a preschool as well.
The prevalence and growing popularity of preprimary programs
About 75% of children across the United States take part in a preprimary program of some sort, which usually consists of classes or groups that function to give interesting, fun, and educational experiences for the young ones. This could include preschool, kindergarten, or nursery school programs. And more people are putting their children into preprimary programs than in the past. Over the course of a 20 year span, more and more parents began to put their children into preprimary programs, as there were about 59% of children aged three years old to five years old going to such programs in 1990, and in 2000 that percentage had grown to 65%.
What to look for in a preprimary program
We learn the most as children. The capacity that a young child has to absorb, interpret, process, and apply completely new concepts is astoundingly greater than that of an adult. As we grow, we prioritize information differently, and our brains are simply not as spongelike as they were when we were younger. Academic preschool activities are important in starting children on the path of education early, but those activities must be engaging and allow room for imagination. Every child learns and understands their environment differently, and so there must be a significant element of free learning where each child has the freedom to explore different concepts and ideas. Giving children that freedom will help them develop the important skills of critical thinking later on.
Helping to build a better future
There is a lot of information and hype, even a bit of fear mongering surrounding the whole preprimary program scene. Parents are often bombarded with advice from every direction about what is best for their child, and the dangers of not entering your child into a structured or formal academic setting early enough. For example, it has been said that 60% of children who are at risk are more likely to end up not attending college if they did not participate in a quality preschool program. But there is so much more to consider than the simple fact that your child did or did not get into a certain preschool, or if you opted to forego preprimary education altogether. A child is learning, always, at every turn, whether in a classroom setting or not. So it needs to be up to the adults in that child’s life to set the right example, always, at every turn.
Not everyone can or wants to send their child to a preprimary academic program. For some it might be an ideal setting for their child. Everyone is different. But those early years, the highly impressionable and formative years of a young human being, are important to helping that young child start to understand the world on every level and start becoming the successful person you want to see them become as an adult. Success does not have to mean wealthy, and what you want to see does not have to mean a specific profession. What we truly need more of in this world is people who are connected to people, and strive to make this planet a better one for all who occupy it. Let that be the major lesson that your child learns, whether in an academic setting or at home.