If your child is nearing the preschool age, you’ve likely had quite a few questions regarding whether or not they’re ready – or even if they need to attend at all. Many parents wonder about the significance of the earliest educational experiences and contemplate the overall value of sending their children to preschool programs. Luckily, this is a topic which has had a great deal of research and studies done providing plenty of information to help answer your questions. So, do children really need to attend preschool?
Early Education Development
The short answer to the question is no, children do not have to attend preschool, however, research has shown that children who do attend early educational programs have a much higher rate of success during their older school years. To put it simply, children who participate in pre-k programs learn invaluable lessons and keystone elements that help them ease into their next-level education experiences.
“Children who attend preschool are more likely to have long-term educational success, attend post high school education and even have a higher income in their careers,” explains Michigan State University Extension’s Early Childhood Development experts.
With so much research pointing toward the benefits of attending preschool, it’s no wonder the early educational experience is so highly regarded today – but just what are the benefits of pre-k? According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), some of the most important benefits gained by children during pre-k programs are considered the building blocks for later learning.
While you may think the earliest programs are all about play time (and there certainly is a lot of that involved), your children are learning highly valuable skills that will prepare them for the future. Preschool play and lessons are focused on helping children develop social skills, hone their physical coordination and motor skills, and learn to manage emotions as well as gain listening and communication skills. Even further, children will also gain problem-solving skills and begin to grasp early reading and math comprehension as well as how to work with others to reach a common goal. All of which are lessons that will serve to help them thrive in their later educational years.
How to Know When They’re Ready
Since there are no set standards for when to attend preschool, it’s generally up to parents to determine the best time to send their child. Most programs cater to children aged 3 to 5, though some can begin as early as 2 depending on the area. How long your child attends will also depend on you – 1 to 2 years is the most typical choice today.
In general, your child can be considered ready for preschool programs once they have mastered certain basic skills at home. Most pre-k programs prefer your child be able to use the restroom on their own before entering a class but tend to be fairly open otherwise. If you’re considering sending your child to preschool and feel your child is ready, here is a look at some of the long-term benefits of preschool.