With each passing year, the importance of early childhood education becomes increasingly evident. Studies have indeed shown that exposure to early learning can help children grow academically later in life – but there should be much more to preschool class-time than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when looking for in a quality preschool curriculum for your little one.
Understanding the Key Factors in Good Preschool Curriculum
Learning is vitally important at every stage of life. The curriculum at the preschool level should be broad enough to foster healthy development, allow a child to discover his or her interests, stimulate the mind, and engage the child enough to be “fun”. But when educating a child at the preschool level, it’s important to consider more than just academic development. Things like social, physical, cultural, and religious development are equally important, so you will want to look for a preschool that gives attention to each of these areas.
Academically, things like literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and art should all, to some degree, be part of your child’s preschool experience. For example, he or she may learn about the arts through playing with sidewalk chalk or finger paints, or through looking at picture books during the day. Science lessons may come in the form of watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly or even talking about the reasons why the leaves change colors in the autumn. And even though your two-year-old may not be ready to read just yet, he or she should be exposed to reading regularly in the preschool environment.
Much of the importance of preschool lies in preparing your child for the challenges ahead in primary, middle, high school – and beyond. As such, parents should look for preschools that help their children learn to listen, follow directions, develop their vocabularies, and communicate with others. These are the building blocks upon which a child’s academic, cultural, and even religious development will be built, so a curriculum that is more about giving children the tools they need to succeed throughout their entire school experience is ideal.
Mimicking Home Values in the Classroom
Finally, it is essential for parents to consider the amount of time their children will ultimately spend in the classroom, and the type of environment they will be exposed to during that time. The environment in which a child learns is just as important as the curriculum itself and, in many ways, it directly influences classroom content and learning. For example, parents who raise their children in Christian homes may want to consider Christian preschools. These schools mimic the very same apostolic values the parents teach at home, which further reinforces those values for children.
In summary, a curriculum at the preschool level should focus on a child’s academic, social, physical, cultural, and religious development. Though academics are essential at this age, rather than being assigned books to read or spelling words to memorize, they should be provided with the tools and building blocks they can use to develop a love of learning, in an environment that reinforces the values being taught at home.