It can be hard to let go of your baby, especially if it’s your first or your last. But there are some serious benefits for both your child and you if you enroll your child in preschool. It’s become so important, in fact, that many cities are working to ensure that quality preschool programs are available for all children from all income levels. So what are these benefits? And why are they so important?
1. Boosts Pre-Math and Literacy Skills – Preschool is a busy place! There’s sorting, matching, counting, puzzle-solving, story reading, and so much more. These activities all help to boost your toddler’s pre-math and literacy skills, giving them a foundation to build upon when they start Kindergarten.
2. Preschool Helps Develop Social Skills – Toddler-hood is when children start becoming aware that they aren’t the only child around. They start to become sensitive to the needs, wants, and struggles of others. Preschool helps to further cultivate that awareness, teaching them important skills like sharing and turn-taking, but they also learn to communicate more with peers, reducing the shyness that so many youngsters usually experience at a young age.
3. Preschool Helps Develop a Sense of Responsibility – During preschool, toddlers learn how to care for themselves during tasks like going to the restroom or eating during snack. Some even learn how to work as a team—helping one another clean up after play. And an internal sense of responsibility is often developed through other tasks assigned, such as helping hand out snacks or feeding the class pet.
4. Children Get to Develop Healthy Autonomy through Decision-Making – We all want our children to develop a certain level of autonomy—independence and freedom to make their own good decisions. This is a skill that is developed, not one that simply comes with time. Preschool gives toddlers a good start on this through the ability to make small choices. It could be as simple as choosing which group of children to play with, or it could be complex as learning how to engage in play with others.
5. Preschool is Highly Structured – For all its noise and choices and crazy, it might be difficult for a parent to see . . . but there is a specific structure to preschool. There is a time for play. A time to ask questions. A time to nap. A time to eat. And, for the most part, that structure stays consistent from one day to the next. This structure is good for children, and it helps to familiarize them with the way life will be once they enter primary school.
6. Expert Direction – We parents are the first and most influential teachers in the lives of our children, but teachers have received training in child development. For those that may be struggling socially, emotionally, or even developmentally, preschool teachers can be a great ally. And for those that are developing normally, preschool teachers can help to ensure your child grows and builds upon what they already know.
7. Play and Creation with a Purpose – Did you know that young children actually learn through play and creation? Preschool offers opportunities to play games and create things that they might not have the opportunity to do and create while at home. Even better – you don’t have to be in charge of the clean-up from whatever amazing art project your child brings home.
8. YOU! . . For the past few years, you’ve been on baby duty. You’ve likely been up at all hours of the night, maybe even pulled the occasional all-nighter because of teething or an ear infection. You’ve gone without showering or brushing your teeth until noon, and you’ve lived with baggies of freeze dried fruit, toys, and Cheerios at the ready, no matter where you are. There is nothing wrong with being excited to have a few hours to yourself – time to do some things that maybe you haven’t had the chance to do in a while: visit with friends, scrapbook, exercise . . . or even just return to work.
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