Much has been said recently about the importance of preschool education – by governments, educational organizations and of course the media. But why is it so important?
Firstly, the preschool years fall into the so-called formative years. It has been shown that up to the age of 7, children absorb information up to 10 times faster than they do thereafter. Like sponges, they soak up everything they are exposed to, storing it for future use. What better time to teach them the basic skills they will need throughout their lives than when they are able to learn it so easily?
Those basic skills include writing, reading, counting, simple mathematics and general knowledge about the world around them. It also includes learning about art and crafts, constructing things and creating beauty. Physical abilities are also based in basic skills – throwing, catching, kicking, running, jumping and hopping form the basis of most movements used in sports as well as in manual labor.
Formal schooling is designed to build on these basic skills, going into more depth and complexity as children get older and are better able to grasp more complicated concepts. The basics, however, are always needed, no matter what career you choose.
Providing your child with the basic skills the need to start school helps them cope with their new environment. If statutory schooling is your child’s first encounter with any form of schooling, they have a lot to get used to. A large group of children, sharing the attention of one teacher is a big change from mum’s constant attention, shared with no more than a few siblings. Sitting in a classroom will be a new, often intimidating experience. Speaking to relative strangers such as teachers and new classmates brings its own set of challenges. There’s a new routine to get used to, and of course the absence of familiar faces and places doesn’t’t help. With some preschool education behind them, your child can at least feel confident that they will be familiar with the school work.
Some form of preschool education, whether at a pre-school or at home, will have taught your child to sit at a table or desk and complete the task they are given. They will be familiar with the work they are likely to get at school, and able to grasp new concepts better than those without any preschool education.
Studies have shown that children whose parents are involved in their education perform better at school, more likely to progress to tertiary education, achieve higher grades and fare better in the job market. That involvement can take the form of teaching your child the basics before they start school, helping them practice and learn their work at school, or taking an interest in what they are doing at school. Whether that involvement starts with preschool education is up to you.
Liz Allan is the author of Worksheetsforpreschool.com She has helped hundreds of pre-school children to be better prepared for school and advance throughout their life. Visit Worksheetsforpreschool.com for more information.