Early Childhood Education 101
Deciding on a Preschool Education
I was one of those parents who was fortunate to be at home during my children's early formative years. I worked out of my home and traveled when our first son was young and we could take him with us while traveling. Once he turned three years of age, we decided to place him in a preschool which only met in the mornings and we chose three half days a week. We wanted our child to have a quality preschool education. While there was no primary emphasis on learning academic skills at this school, there was an emphasis on building the whole child; learning basic social skills in a group setting and having the opportunity to have a structured morning of songs, stories, outdoor activities, art, making snacks every Friday, and listening to different kinds of music and using musical instruments. They learned self-help skills, responsibility, and how to get their own snack and drink set out properly on the table. They each took turns with assigned jobs such as door holder, line leader, snack helper, calendar girl/boy, pet feeder and a few others that would change during the year.
The teacher had a degree in early childhood education and expected and gave respect to each student and parent. It worked somewhat like a co-op and we had to volunteer one morning a month. We then had to move because of reassignment with our company and ended up in upstate New York. We decided to put our son in a half-day preschool again in preparation for Kindergarten and I gave birth to our second son. The time my oldest was at school gave me time with my newborn. We did the same with our second son when he turned 4 placing him in preschool on a part-time basis. I believe those early years helped form their character and gave them a diverse experience of learning about others and adopting the social skills and structure that are necessary for a successful school career.
When my children were old enough to be on their own at home, I went back to work full time in the classroom as an early childhood educator. I have taught in both public and private school settings. I believe there are five primary, significant reasons why preschool is an important choice for the children and the parents.
Why Preschool Is So Important
Five Significant Reasons For a Preschool Education
1. Brain development is highest during the first four years of life. The brain is forming important neural paths to help develop the child's ability to perform and function and learn well. Children are able to learn at a rapid rate and want and need to learn new information. I've heard so many teachers and parents remark that at this age their child's brain is like a sponge.
Their brain absorbs information and stores it, often feeling saturated with new input (another important reason your child needs at least 10 hours of sleep). But that is precisely one of the functions of the brain. Your child can benefit immensely when interacting in a quality preschool which is content rich with appropriate information and materials.
2. Going hand in hand with brain development is structure. Structure is vital for the young preschooler and the child thrives in a loving, structured environment with stimulating colors, sounds, textures, classroom layout, varying activities and books. The child learns routine and expectations and begins to look forward to the next activity.
Their little brains help them process these codes of familiarity and it gives the child a sense of security and belonging. Once they are settled into the structure and routine of the preschool classroom, it begins to build a solid framework for their future school career which will be much more structured and demanding.
3. Social skills are next on the list and they are important to learn at this age rather than waiting until Kindergarten age or later. One of the reasons older children may have difficulty in school is that they never really learned the social skills in preschool. Social skills such as learning how to listen, nice talk, brave talk, taking turns, acceptance of multi-cultural differences, apologies, when to say please and thank you, how to speak in a group, helping each other, learning compassion and empathy.
There are so many rich opportunities for a child to develop social skills and every Kindergarten teacher I ever communicate with always lists these as being THE most important skills to learn in preschool. It is important that a child learns early that the world does not revolve around him alone, and it helps the child learn that we live in a multicultural society full of many different kinds of people.
4. Academics are now being emphasized more than in past years because there is more research substantiating that a child is able to learn and perform more than what we used to expect. Also, there are more academics in the preschool curriculum now because the schools expect a child entering Kindergarten to know what once used to be taught in kindergarten.
Are all children going to learn to write letters well at the age of three? No. But given the opportunity to have a writing center with all different kinds of writing utensils and paper, the child will begin to strengthen his fine motor skills which are needed to learn how to write properly. Most Kindergartens expect the child to enter school knowing how to print the alphabet, numbers 1-10 (some 1-20), write their first and last name, display basic social skills and have an ability to comprehend and follow directions.
Many preschools have introduced smartboard technology into the academic curriculum. A teacher needs to be trained on how to use them and integrate their use into the classroom. It is a fantastic addition to the way children learn, and I'm fortunate enough to work in a school which uses smartboard technology. It engages the children, helps them to focus and fine tune their motor skills. I have included a video example of a phonics smartboard lesson. The children progress well using this technology.
5. Last and not least on why preschool is important is the needed space it gives you as a parent to work or have time to pursue interests, hobbies, friends as an adult in your adult world. As a parent, one still needs to grow and learn and give to the community if that is something you enjoy doing. The child needs this time away from his parents and home to learn about the world, about people, about accepting others, making new friends. Children learn trust and independence. Mom can't always be there doing everything for the child.
When given the opportunity to do things on his/her own or with a group, the child is learning important work attributes that are necessary in his future. Many businesses and companies work together in teams and depend on each other to contribute and know how to team project. And there are opportunities for the child to learn how to work on his own, at his own pace, making his own expectations and goals. The preschool setting can be that strong foundation for a successful school/work career making it easier to enjoy a fulfilling life.
The Creative Curriculum for Preschool
Preschool Teachers Help Build The Future
I hope this has helped anyone who is thinking about placing their child in preschool or already has their child in preschool and that it will better help you understand its importance not only on the child's life, but on society as a whole. Preschool teachers, in my opinion, are the world's unsung heroes. They do an extraordinary amount of work and good for our world as our children are any country's greatest asset. We are building the future together. A quality preschool education can be one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child.
Research and Additional Helpful Links
- Brain Architecture
Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health.
- Preschool Social Skills
How to nurture and improve preschool social skills. Why parents are more important than peers. Science-based tips on teaching social competence.
Has This Article Helped You Understand the Importance of Preschool Education?
brandyadams on February 20, 2018:
Hello rebekahELLE , Thank you for posting this useful article and I truly appreciate you because you have described your points thoroughly which is really helpful for readers and I totally agree with you .You know, my kid loves to attend his preschool classes at Brooklyn Preschool of Science (http://brooklynpreschoolofscience.com) and sometime he said "Dad I wish to live with my friends and teaches forever". And when I ask "Why?" again said "Coz they are caring enough and answer my all questions". Then I realize that we are in the right way.
sybol on August 26, 2017:
Well said! I agree with the insight in your article. Your ideas are clearly communicated. Thank you for sharing.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 23, 2016:
Rebekah, congrats on HOTD! This was a well-thought hub on preschool education can benefit in your kid's learning. I went to preschool too, long time ago. Thanks for sharing the pointers in this hub.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 23, 2016:
Congratulations for the HOTD!
This is a very useful and informative hub. I was a teacher earlier and thus I can relate to your suggestions regarding importance of pre school education. Formation years build the foundation of a child's personality and thus they are crucial. Therefore it is very important to give emphasis on preschool education.
Preschool teachers should be creative and fully equipped enough, not only to prepare the students in intellectual aspects, but also emotionally. Teachers and parents must work together to prepare lifelong learners.
Thank you for sharing this very important hub!
McKenna Meyers on December 13, 2015:
As the federal government becomes increasingly involved in early childhood education with the new Common Core standards, there's an absurd push for so-called academic rigor. Little kids are expected to learn a long checklist of discrete skills that don't take in consideration individual rates of learning. There's too much emphasis on rote learning, technology, and getting ready for kindergaren -- not enough on hand-on learning, exploration, and movement. Little kids are getting frustrated and turned off to school. There is NO evidence that shows early academic instruction has long-term benefits. There is, however, evidence that shows the opposite. Early readers are less likely to read for pleasure when they get older. "Defending the Early Years" is a coalition of early childhood advocates who've come together to protest the academic rigor that's being thrust upon vulnerable young children.
Arco Hess from Kansas City, Kansas on October 13, 2014:
I love your article! I am a professional teacher,too. Formation years of a child is crucial, so it is very important to give emphasis on preschool education. I was once a preschool teacher. Preschool teachers should be fully equipped and creative enough to not only prepare the students in intellectual aspects, but also emotionally. Teachers and parents must work hand in hand to produce lifelong learners.
Thank you, rebekahELLE.
Kalafina on September 10, 2014:
Out of the four of us children only my younger sister attended preschool. I do not feel attending preschool made a difference either way. My older brother is a PhD student, my older sister has an established job and her second child is due in December this year. My younger sister is in her final year of nursing school while I graduated with a degree in pre-med. I think the heart of the difference comes down to how a parent works with their children. To often I think parents rely solely on the preschool to do the work with their child. It's just as important to have parents work with the children. As for socializing, having siblings does help. In our family we were introduced to many new experiences through travel and learned to socialize very early on as my father's job met spending a lot of time with a diverse age group. Of course every family is different. Would I send my child to preschool? Most likely. To be honest I think it sounds like a lot of fun! I remember my little sister once came home with these faux fish in a bag filled with a squishy toothpaste mixture. It looked cool plus it was fun to make she said. My own mother is a full-time professor so even with a preschool she never had time to socialize with the other mothers. I'm interested to see what my sister will decide happens with my niece at preschool age.
Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on August 29, 2012:
I taught my own children at home and paid close attention to the educational issues you addressed in this article. I started "teaching" my daughter to read as soon as she was born. I made sure she developed social skills by including her in preschool programs. She learned to read before starting kindergarten. Her teachers love her!
Hiral Dave on March 11, 2012:
This is a great inforamtion I appreciate this well written article. I am totally agree with your thoughts and hope everyone who will read this they do too. It is helping everyone to understad the importance of the pre school learning time for the children. Great job! Best of luck for your thesis. Keep it up!
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on February 28, 2012:
I appreciate your comments. I have answered previously in the comment section the date of publication if you scroll through these comments. I don't mind a reference to this copyrighted material with proper citation and authorship.
Good luck with your thesis! I'm glad you have found this article helpful.
dhang_me on February 28, 2012:
hello! its really a nice article..it helps me in doing my thesis about importance of preschool. i just want to ask favor. may i know the exact date when you posted it? thank you so much.. God bless!!
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 13, 2012:
So glad you shared this. As a newly retired teacher, I encourage anyone with whom I come in contact that has small children to capitalize on the moment. They are like little sponges and drink in all that we present them. This gives them an advantage...when they are in school whether home schooled or public or private school they have many tools already in place to set in motion the next part of their education. you shared valuable info here....
Alice. on January 15, 2012:
It's a wonderful comment.. U know what recently I am doing DIploma in Early Childhood Development and your material is really helpful for me . Thanks
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on January 02, 2012:
Chalpin Speaks, Thanks for commenting. Although I feel it is important and beneficial to children and families, I would never come out and say it's imperative for academic/social success. There are families doing a fantastic job without it and often can do a better job than a poorly managed preschool in the community. I have another hub about how to find the right preschool for your child. There are some dreadfully bad teachers who really shouldn't be responsible for young minds. And there are some excellent, caring, educated teachers out there who can make a world of difference in children's lives.
As far as babies learning to read, I don't advocate it or believe it. A baby is not naturally designed to read nor has the cognitive skills necessary. Whatever they're saying is nothing less than conjecture while employing marketing strategies. A baby has other needs to develop before the later preschool years when reading and literacy can be more easily taught and learned.
It is a process, not memorization.
Sarah Johnson from Charleston, South Carolina on January 01, 2012:
I agree that preschools are important and a good thing, especially for children who are preparing to enter a brick and mortar school at age 5. I like your Hub because you discuss the benefits without declaring it an absolute must for academic/social success. Is anyone else bothered by the commercial for the program that teaches babies to read?
Anyway, awesome hub that, as you can see, will be read and be relevant for years to come!
eya on November 21, 2011:
good about the preschool education
RedSturtz from A land far far away.... on November 12, 2011:
Completely agree. My child isn't old enough for preschool as yet but she has been in daycare one day a week since 3 months of age. I know parents who never let other people care for their children or homeschool their children and I think it both socially deprives the kids as well as decreasing the amount of new experiences they can have.
AnesaK from USA on October 25, 2011:
I absolutely agree with you on all the points you mentioned! I used to teach preschool and happily recall my time with my former students :). Great hub!
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on October 23, 2011:
J.M., thank you for your comment and request to site the article in your thesis. It was published in Oct.2009 and is copyrighted material. Good luck on your thesis and best regards. Rebekah
J.M.Vianney on October 21, 2011:
Very important information.
This article really helped me especially the five reasons for a preschool education. However, I would like to know when such an article was posted because I need to use it in my Thesis writing. my e-mail: email@example.com
Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on October 01, 2011:
A great hub. You ve made the reasons clear. Well done!
Sheila on September 26, 2011:
It was and is a good article about preschool being important in a child and parents life. I am glad I read the article and I have had all five of my children in preschool and it prove to help them get a jump start on their future education.
Jazz Granada on June 04, 2011:
letting your toddler undergo preschool is a plus. my older son went into preschool. i have been homeschooling my kids for some time now and i have realised that there is not much difference on their learning. their social relationship is well developed too.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on February 03, 2011:
Thank you for the great comments. While some parents do wait or choose to keep their child at home, that's fine as long as there is some structure and academic instruction at home. If not, it can put the child at a disadvantage when first entering school. I don't think any loving, caring parent wants their child starting out behind. Education is the key to their future as well as ours. They will be our future generations leading, inventing, innovating, discovering, doctoring, teaching, parenting, governing, servicing the needs of their communities and countries in a global society.
We owe them the very best that we can offer.
@gypsumgirl, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I have heard time and again from teachers and administrators of how helpful the right preschool experience is for preparing the young ones for their school experience. I'm happy to hear you have found this hub useful to parents. Thank you!
gypsumgirl from Vail Valley, Colorado on February 02, 2011:
Thanks for a great hub! As a K-5 administrator, I am definitely a huge supporter of preschool. We notice a huge difference between the kindergartners who have had preschool and those who have not. You have provided parents with some great information in this hub.
Eric from Seattle, WA on December 16, 2010:
What an excellent hub this was. The moral of the story is simply that education is where everything starts, and it is akin to puppy training...seriously. You don't want to start teaching your dog to sit and stay when he or she is 5 years old. Just like you don't want to wait 3 years to house train your dog. Well a child is no different in terms of development. Start young, focus on education and take advantage of the fact that children are like sponges when they're young. Get them interested, make their environment conducive to learning and reap the rewards for the remainder of their lives.
wordsscriber from California on August 27, 2010:
I think this hub is super. I enjoyed reading it and like your writing style. Keep it up! In my opinion, preschool give a child a jump start in life.
Lizett from The Great Northwest on August 07, 2010:
thanks for taking the time to read my comment. I have mixed feelings about stranger danger too. It's interesting to me that my daughter picks certain people to interact with and avoids others- cross my fingers she may have natural good judgment, but I know what you mean.
I hear that kids are so sweet until they go to school and learn bad language and habits from other kids. I agree parents reinforcing good behavior at home is best.
Being at home is a rare privilege for moms nowadays and acually wasn't my first choice- just string of circumstances led to it. I admire the educators of small children- they are both precious commodities.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on August 06, 2010:
thanks everyone for the comments! I appreciate your time in reading and leaving a comment.
@ izetti, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
I do understand what you're saying. From a professional point of view, I do see the benefits for the children. They learn how to interact in a classroom setting (most of them) and this prepares them for big school. In response to your comments about social skills lacking in children today, I think it's more the society we live in. Many parents and schools teach 'stranger danger' and children learn not to respond to people they don't know. I have mixed feelings about it and always have, because on one side, I totally agree with not speaking to strangers. On the other side, we may raise children who mistrust their world. There's a fine line between teaching safety and courtesy.
Preschool teachers don't necessarily 'teach' manners, but show how they are used and help the children learn how to utilize social skills in different situations.
Parents who have children lacking in these skills need to first observe their own parenting to see what they are mirroring to their children. If kids bring home undesirable behaviors they may see at school, the parents can reinforce what is acceptable. Believe me, a professional teacher does discuss this with the class.
Some children do well if there is a parent at home who is active in their early childhood years, but most parents simply don't have that opportunity now.
Bravo to you for being there for your child!
Lizett from The Great Northwest on August 06, 2010:
I'm not in total agreement with the importance of pre-school. I never went and did fine in school and social activities. I think parents needing a break is probably the best reason. I don't plan on putting my daughter (age 3) in pre school. I know you're a professional, but I especially disagree with the social aspect. Kids are more anti-social than ever. My daughter politely goes up to kids twice her age and says "Hi my name is ___ .It's nice to meet you". Most kids look at her and don't know how to react to a decent introduction. Most kids I've noticed also won't say a word or ignore other kids that talk to them.
More kids are going to pre-school than ever and social manners seem at an all-time low. These kids aren't even making eye contact, something my daughter has done at an early age. I don't think socializing and manners can be taught, those are distinctive traits that are best learned from watching.
Other parents ask me how I taught my daughter to habitually say please, thank you, bless you, sorry and all Ican say is that I do it to her. She does something nice and I say thank you to her, I say sorry and mean it, and please when I want to her to listen and do something. I almost think kids are mirroring other kids poor manners in pre school while the teacher is trying to "teach" manners- seems counterproductive because kids are more likely to learn from mirroring others.
equealla from Pretoria, South Africa on July 25, 2010:
How lucky for those who have facilities like that. The place my kids grew up was wilderness, and everybody dropped their kids at my place. Sometimes leaving them there for a week or more, whilst playing their own survival game. At times I had 20 odd small kids living in my home. Fortunately my children turned out to be great entrepeneurs, and was not left with a lot of damage for not having this priviledge of life preparation.
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 03, 2010:
As a teacher I support this hub. I agree with you. This hub contain good information for us a parent. I just add that the preschool is useful for prepare the mental of children before attending the elementary school. Like you said they could find more friends, it good for social skill.
rvsrinivasan on January 03, 2010:
I missed my pre school in my younger days. I came to know from this hub how it is very important in our life. It is very nice. I have made some attempts to write hubs. May please see.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on December 04, 2009:
Thanks ladies for coming by and reading and leaving such nice comments. I think there is plenty of evidence that it is helpful for most children. We live in a different world than generations ago, and kids can only benefit from learning at an earlier age in a structured, social setting. I appreciate your contributions! :))
anglfire693 from Detroit, Michigan on December 04, 2009:
Very informative! I love it! I had my son in preschool at age 3, I believe it did wonders for him! Not just educationally, but in developing his social skills! He has always been able to "fit in the crowd" and makes new friends very easily. I know some kids who can't do this. I know some of it is personality, but social skills will make the difference! I am going to forward this on to my brother and sister-n-law, they have a two year old daughter and have just begun discussing whether/when they are going to send her to preschool. Very informative! Great job!
Crazy888 on November 16, 2009:
My children also went to preschool. they are in grade 6 and 7 now but i think that your hub is very good for other mothers!
Merriweather on November 09, 2009:
Thanks for this information. My older two children have gone to a Montessori pre-K / Kindergarten combined class and on to lower and upper El in a (public) Montessori school. The pre-K program is tuition-based and we can't afford to send child # 3, but this article has given me some ideas for incorporating preschool "stuff" into everyday life.
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on November 03, 2009:
thank you livingsta and pretty for your comments. I also wish more parents could see the benefits and hopefully this can help those who may wonder from an insider's perspective. I can't tell you how many lives I saw change and blossom because of their preschool experience. It's beautiful to see and know that you helped! :)
prettydarkhorse from US on November 03, 2009:
hi, this is well written, I wish many parents or caretraker of children see the importance of pre school education...
This article should be read by parents out there who have young age children...
livingsta from United Kingdom on October 30, 2009:
Very good information, because many children do not get Preschool education. This hub will definitely create an awareness among people regarding the importance of preschooling. thank you for sharing Rebekah :)
rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on October 28, 2009:
thanks ladies for coming by and leaving a comment. :)
@Jane, love the Montessori method, good for you! There's so much research behind it and the classrooms are calm.
@Veroncia, that's wonderful you are able to be home with your children and you are lucky! Libraries are great as well as local museums, parks, anyplace where they can learn and be with other children is all good!
Veronica Allen from Georgia on October 28, 2009:
Very good information. I appreciate all the pros you pointed out about preschool and the so needed recongnition that should go to the Preschool teachers. Although I've decided to keep my two young ones at home, I do take advantage of the free programs provided at our local library that provides my toddlers with association amongst children their own age, and includes music and physical activities along with the reading programs. I have seen the difference in their social skills since I've incorporated this in my weekly homeschooling lesson plans.
Jane@CM on October 28, 2009:
Good information. My kids both went to preschool, one went to a Montessori preschool and it was so good for them both, plus I met some fabulous moms who stayed at home too!