While you have probably been pressured to sign your child up for a quality, competitive and often costly preschool since your baby was in utero, you might find yourself wondering if the benefits of preschool are as profound as some would like to proclaim. Whether you feel that your child needs socialization or academic instruction in a preschool or you feel that preschool is a form of glorified babysitting, your personal views on early education, your financial situation, your child’s needs and her individual personality will help you determine the right path to take.
If you send your child to preschool, he can develop early learning skills within a group. If you opt against preschool, he might have more time to improve individually. You might visit museums together, schedule play dates or have more time to read books. Preschool can produce academic benefits that persist into the elementary years, especially for low-income, minority or other at-risk children, according to an educational leadership article, published on the ASCD website. However, a low-quality preschool is unlikely to yield better academic results than highly involved parents who have a vested interest in education of a young child in the home. Parents are the biggest influence in a child’s academic and personal life, regardless of educational choices, the Michigan Department of Education reports.
If you send your child to preschool, he is likely to have higher standardized testing scores and higher academic performance throughout school, according to W. Steven Barnett’s article on the National Institute for Early Education Research’s website. He might have long-term career benefits as well, including better job stability and higher earnings, according to Advocates for Children of New Jersey. However, non-preschool students will not necessarily lag behind, long-term. An involved family, access to different experiences and groups of children and individualized attention might be a better solution to help ensure your child’s future success.
Non-preschool and preschool students vary considerably in their physical abilities. Preschool students might have more access to developmental equipment and other experiences to improve balance and coordination than non-preschool students. However, non-preschool students who are involved in a gymnastics class or even those who have plenty of opportunities to be active at home in their backyard can have strong motor skills. W. Barnett’s article admits that the advantages to students attending preschool are dependent on the type of program and quality of teachers. In fact, some non-preschool students might have more time to be active and run and engage in free play than students who are stuck inside a preschool classroom on a beautiful spring day.
Social and Emotional Differences
Your child’s social skills and emotional health will not be formed by attending preschool alone. While preschool students learn to get along with a group of peers and manage their emotions while being separated from parents for a period of time, they might also pick up unwanted behaviors, according to Parenting Science. If your preschool student picks up bad language or violent behavior during preschool, there might be little you can do to stop it. Non-preschool students might feel more stressed once they enter kindergarten because they have not learned to separate from parents.