Archive for December 24th, 2010
It goes without saying the most parents want the best for their kids, even more than what they had growing up. So when it comes to working multiple jobs just to skate by, parents are not afraid. However, a good portion of their paycheck is allocated to childcare, so why shouldn’t they get more than just a person looking after their child, why shouldn’t it include education?
If you are fortunate enough to have a friend or family member willing to look after your very young child while you are on the job – or are able to hire a babysitter – you may be saving money, but your child is probably missing some important opportunities for intellectual growth. Yes, his/her physical needs for nourishment and protection are certainly being met, and there may be some socialization that occurs in a typical day care center, but many of them neglect learning activities that can stimulate cognitive function and give the child a firm foundation for furthering his/her education later in life.
It has been clearly demonstrated that even one year of attendance at a certified preschool in which young children have opportunities for cognitive development through age-appropriate learning activities (such as educational games and other forms of constructive play) gives a child a tremendous advantage when they enter kindergarten. Such children have superior skills in reading, writing and speaking and mathematics – which are the foundation of every other subject. Additionally, children with a year or more of academic preschool have better social skills and are able to function better in a group setting. The effects of a quality preschool education will last a lifetime – and make it far more likely that the child will succeed, as an adult in a Darwinian economic and social system in which every person is for him or herself and the only rule is “survival of the fittest.”
Not All Work
It is a common fear that parents possess that educational day care will be too much work and that children will should be having fun and getting messy. Their concerns are not unfounded. But what they need to remember is that this is a classroom full of other kids just like them, wanting to be kids. The development of their social skills will enhance their ability to feel comfortable when away from parents. Kids need time to interact with each other, and educational day care programs allow them to do so.
It is Never too Early to Start
The growth that occurs in a child between birth and age five has a tremendous impact on their performance in school later on, this is a well known fact that Educators have long realized (even if policymakers refuse to acknowledge it). Sadly, although a recent policy decreed that “every child will enter school ready to learn,” lawmakers on Capitol Hill were as usual very vague on how this is supposed to happen.
Research supports that children may start learning even before birth; during the last trimester, the child may benefit from exposure to certain types of music as well as speech. So while you may joke about singing and talking to your baby pre-birth it is actually quite beneficial. The human brain undergoes rapid growth throughout the preschool years; it is safe to say that what happens to a child during the first five years of life largely shapes the adult s/he will become. At this stage of a child’s life, s/he develops his/her basic language skills, a sense of self, his/her place in the group and the role of culture – all the basic tools required to function in a given society.
In short, the preschool years are those in which an elastic, malleable brain is “hardwired.”
**Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas
Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the Austin day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.