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Preschool is the most important grade in school

By Cheryl Lynne Potter

For young children, preschool is very important. In fact, some experts say preschool is the most important grade a child could ever attend. The reason why is simple. Preschool is a child’s first exposure to structured learning. For many children, preschool is the start of the foundation to learning that will help them succeed later on in elementary school and throughout their school career.

Preschool gives youngsters, according to the website Parents.com, a “chance to play with other children, to work in groups, to take turns, to hear conversations. All these experiences set them up with social skills that they’re going to use for the rest of their lives.” Children who go to high quality preschools, according to the website, are more than ready for kindergarten. “They have richer vocabularies. They have stronger social skills. They know how to work within a group.” They even have, according to the website, stronger math skills and pre-reading skills. “Everything is primed and ready for the learning to happen when they get to kindergarten.”

However, this is not news to South Jersey Grand mom, Kathy Nichols. Her granddaughter, Kendal, first attended, what she calls a pre preschool program at the age of 2. She’s now a student at a Pre-K program in Glassboro. “We wanted Kendal to gain independence.  We wanted her to be challenged intellectually - a place that would teach her letters, words, math concepts, etc.,” said Nichols. She also wanted Kendal to be “challenged socially,” as well as, have “a love of learning.” It’s important, said Nichols, to have children well prepared to enter kindergarten. “An early education program will teach children routines, respect for authority and others, socialization skills and academics.”

Preschool also gives children, experts say, an opportunity for growth in a structured setting. It teaches youngsters, they say, how to share, follow instruction, take turns and even how to raise their hand when they want to ask a question in class. Preschool also teaches children how to compromise, be respectful of others and how to solve problems. Youngsters discover in preschool, what they are capable of and how to do some things for themselves without the help of mommy and daddy.

Most importantly, preschool helps to prepare children academically for kindergarten, which has over the years become more academically rigorous. Yet, for many parents, the question still exists, what should they look for in finding that ideal high quality preschool program for their kids? One answer, experts say, is to look for a staff that understands how young children learn and develop. The staff should also know how to organize their space, time and activities to be in sync with their student’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive abilities. They should also know how to make their students feel safe and secure. High quality programs, experts say, know how to nurture that warm relationship with their students, as we as with their parents.

Overall, a good quality preschool helps to build upon the knowledge, skills and confidence needed for children to do well in kindergarten and as they continue to learn later on in life.

 

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