Some parents are reluctant to enrol their child into preschool as they are so young and often ask, why is preschool so important? Its just playing right? Wrong, there is so much more to preschool than play. Yes play is what the children do for the majority of their time at preschool, but there is purpose, planning and structure behind that play to enable children to develop essential skills they can take forward to school. A child that attends a high quality preschool will have an excellent preparation for school that will enhance their learning experience. At Apple Trees we are very proud of our preschool, or Ladybird room, as it is known to our children. With excellent outcomes for the children attained year on year we thought we would try to answer the question, why is preschool so important? Here are our top ten reasons why a preschool is so important.
- Preschool is an opportunity for growth
For many children, preschool is their first experience in a structured setting with teachers and groups of children. It’s an opportunity to learn to share, follow instructions, and begin the foundation for learning that will occur in primary school.
- Preschool prepares children for primary school
Selecting a good preschool protects a child’s play time and makes sure they are ready for the early maths and literacy challenges that a child will go on to face at primary school.
But how do high-quality preschools benefit children’s learning and development? What features should parents look for in a preschool? One answer to these questions is that the staff are well qualified to implement programs and understand the particular ways that young children develop and learn. That they organise space, time and activities to be in sync with children’s individual social, emotional, cognitive, and physical abilities.
- Preschool promotes social and emotional development
In order to learn, a young child needs to feel cared for and secure with their caregiver. Children are able to spend time away from parents and build trusting relationships with adults outside the family. A good preschool nurtures warm relationships among children, practitioners and parents. And practitioners build a close personal connection with each child in their care. That’s what I think we do exceptionally well at Apple Trees, just ask one of our happy parents!
Children thrive when there is consistency in care between home and school. At Apple Trees we value parents as the experts on their children. Parents get daily reports on their child’s activities and we work hard to keep parents in touch with their child’s day.
Children are also able to form friendships with their peers and learn how to cope with different emotions, while being fully supported by their carers.
- The preschool environment is structured, although it may not appear that way
We often say that Apple Trees is organised chaos as it may look a little chaotic from the outside but its actually very structured. A structured environment helps young children learn to make friends and play well with others. This doesn’t mean there are lots of rules or that practitioners constantly direct children’s activities. On the contrary, the structure of a high-quality preschool classroom is largely invisible to children. Classroom space is organized to encourage social interaction, and minimise congestion and conflicts, while promoting learning and development through play.
- Children get to make choices
Children have several choices of activities; a child who is wandering aimlessly is encouraged to choose one that interests them. Practitioners are alert to a child who can’t figure out how to enter other children’s play and may offer them suggestions on ways to join the group.
At snack time a child can choose what they want to eat and drink and can enjoy socialising with the other children over lunch.
- Children learn to take care of themselves and others
A child’s sense of competence and self-worth grows as they learn to take care of themselves and help others. Practitioners appeal to a young child’s desire to engage in “real work” by offering them chances to help out in the classroom, for example, by setting the table at snack time. Children are expected to wash their hands before snack time, keep personal belongings in their draw and put away toys before moving to a new activity. Children become confident at putting their shoes and coat on for outdoor play and attending to personal hygiene after using the toilet.
Throughout a child’s school years, much of children’s learning will take place in the company of their peers. At Apple Trees, children are introduced to the behaviours required to function successfully in a school classroom. For example, during group activities such as “circle time,” children learn to focus attention on the teacher, listen while others are speaking, and wait for their turn to talk.
- Preschool promotes language and cognitive skills
Preschool-age children’s language skills are nurtured in a “language-rich” environment. Between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary grows from 900 to 2,500 words, and their sentences become longer and more complex. Our practitioners help children stretch their language skills by asking thought-provoking, open ended questions and introducing new vocabulary during science, art, snack time, and other activities.
Children have many opportunities to sing, talk about favourite books, and act out stories.
A young child’s cognitive skills are strengthened by engaging in a wide range of hands-on activities that challenge her to observe closely, ask questions, test her ideas or solve a problem.
- Preschool teachers nurture a child’s curiosity
Our practitioners observe, ask questions and listen to children’s ideas during these activities — “correct” answers are not the goal. Nurturing their curiosity and motivation to learn is far more important and we, use children’s interests and ideas to create activities. And even a simple, chance event – such as a child’s discovery of a snail in the outdoor play area — can be turned into an exciting opportunity to learn.
Preschool-age children have active imaginations and learn through make-believe play. Imagination fuels learning, for example, when a group of children creates a make-believe pet store, they will practice many social and cognitive skills as they assign roles to each child, figure out categories of pet supplies and how to organize them, make signs to label products; help their “customers” select the right shampoo or cat toy; and take “money” for products.
An imaginary play area in a high-quality preschool is well-stocked with costumes, “props,” and child-size household items such as stoves, sinks and cupboards. It’s often in this activity area that preschool-age children progress steadily from solitary play, to one-on-one play, to complicated group play.
- Preschool activities boost pre-math and literacy skills
Young children show growing interest in pre-math and pre-literacy skills. They are curious and observant, and they want to learn numbers and letters just like their families do. To prepare children for the academic demands of school, practitioners offer a wide variety of games and activities that help children acquire the pre- math and literacy skills.
Singing an alphabet song while following along in a picture book builds a child’s awareness of the connections between alphabet letters and word sounds. Learning rhymes and chants helps them to notice the distinct sounds within words. Engaging children in a discussion about an exciting read-aloud story encourages their listening, comprehension, and expressive language skills.
Matching games, sorting games, counting games, and board games build children’s understanding of number, categories and sequence, which supports later math learning. Putting together puzzles encourages children to notice patterns, plan ahead and problem-solve.
To sustain children’s excitement and motivation for learning, high-quality preschool and child care programs introduce early literacy and math skills not as isolated exercises, but in the context of activities that are interesting and meaningful to children.
- Preschool helps develop motor skills
Physical coordination improves, allowing the child to explore her environment — and to challenge herself-in new ways. Young children are in motion for a good part of the day. High-quality preschool programs provide several opportunities daily for children to run, climb, and play active games. Activities are offered to help children develop fine motor skills, such as threading beads or cutting with scissors. And children are challenged through a variety of activities to build their hand-eye coordination and balance.
Choosing Apple Trees For Your Child’s Preschool
Now you know why preschool is so important you may wish to start looking for a good one for your child…..well look no further! Our register is now open for September and we are conducting socially distanced viewings. Have a read of our blog, choosing Apple Trees as your child’s preschool or fill out this form and we will send you a full brochure.
Alternatively you can get in touch by emailing email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time,