Every parent wants to give their child the skills to succeed. For most, these tools include enrolling their children in school around the age of five, helping them with their homework, and emphasizing the importance of academics. However, some parents may be surprised to learn that one of the most proven ways to help their child find future academic success is an early-stage tool: prekindergarten.
Setting a Precedent
A vast and growing body of scientific research shows that enrolling in prekindergarten yields both short and long-term benefits for children and their communities. Preschool exposes young ones to numbers, letters, and shapes during a critical cognitive development stage. Preparing them to understand the concept of counting, giving them a sharper grasp of time, and engaging in fantasy play or storytelling. States that have invested in offering public education pre-k programs for all children have reported significant academic improvements across the board, for all income levels and racial groups. These educational improvements include letter identification, word identification, applied problem solving and spelling. All of which are crucial tools for students to master at a young age in order to stay abreast of their future education. Furthermore, studies that followed subjects for longer periods of time found impressive long-term results concerning educational progress, lowered delinquency, and post-high school earning power. More and more kindergarten teachers are expecting their pupils to already have a basic knowledge of the ABCs, 123s, and the primary colors. However, they now also want them to know how to spell and recognize their name, know the alphabet, name letters, count one to ten, and recognize most of the basic colors and shapes. A pupil entering kindergarten without these skills in hand may struggle to catch up or stay on the same pace as the class. Thus risking a larger and larger academic lag as their education continues.
Increase in Skills
In addition to scholastic improvement, children enrolled in school programs prior to kindergarten have greater opportunities to develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as their social and life skills. At ages 3-4, one should be able to use scissors, copy shapes, negotiate solutions to conflicts with peers, and show interest in spending time with other children. According to research, kids who have positive developmental experiences go on to have a higher vocabulary, are more apt to follow directions, and are more socially confident in their teenage years. Scientific studies show that these earlier educated children also have decreased chances of needing special education services later on in life. Not only does this obviously benefit the child and the family, but it also reduces the financial drain on schools and communities, freeing up extra dollars to be reinvested into improving and expanding other school activities and programs. Cities that invest in early public education see their dollars returned with a closing of their achievement gap, an increase in their graduation rate, and the creation of productive citizens.
In conclusion, parents should consider prekindergarten a crucial step for their children. 3 and 4-year-old brains are like sponges, ready to soak up valuable information and build a strong foundation. With prekindergarten, they will quickly learn how to navigate the academic and social world of kindergarten and beyond.