In recent years, there has been much research done into early childhood education. From these studies, we have learned about a variety of benefits to preschool. In fact, some prekindergarten advocates even refer to it as “the most important year” of a child’s education. That’s why so many government programs have been put into place to fund pre-K for children, including here in Florida.
At Lake Montessori School, we are proud of our Voluntary Prekindergarten Program. We are in complete support of ensuring that every four year old is able to take advantage of the benefits of preschool because we are well-aware of the importance of prekindergarten.
The First Five Years
Research shows that the first five years of life are essential for development. This is when children develop the emotional and social skills that they need to be successful in school. When children start kindergarten, they are expected to be able to follow directions, listen, complete projects, and ask for help when necessary. These skills are essential to success in school, and preschool gives children the forum to learn and develop them. It’s important to give your child every advantage to become a lifelong learner.
Sense of Self-Worth and Competence
Preschool offers children the opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves and others. Developing these skills is important for helping children gain confidence. The teacher facilitates this by having children take on responsibilities in the classroom. This also naturally happens in a Montessori setting where children are given the opportunity to explore and follow their imagination to learning.
Language and Cognitive Skills
If you have ever learned a foreign language, you know the best way to accomplish this is through immersion. The same is true with your first language. Children’s language skills are nurtured by an environment that requires them to use them. Between the ages of 3 and 5, a child’s vocabulary grows by 2,000 words, and their sentence structure becomes longer and more complex. Preschool exposes children to more people to communicate with and this deepens their language skill development.
In addition, children’s cognitive skills are developing at a rapid rate at this age. This is the ideal time for a child to be in a Montessori environment where they engage in hands on play, develop curiosity about the world, ask questions, solve problems, and make observations.
An Academic Foundation
Preschool sets the stage for children to learn a variety of academic skills that will serve them throughout their education. In particular, there are many ways that pre-K allows children to begin to develop pre-math and literacy skills. The beauty of a Montessori classroom is the real world application of these skills. Instead of starting with an abstract explanation of addition, for example, the child’s natural curiosity leads them to assemble a block building, where they learn how additional blocks creates a bigger building. This concept helps them have a tangible understanding of math from the beginning.
Given the benefits of preschool, as well as the fact that preschool is free for four- and five-year-olds in Florida, it’s more clear than ever than your child should be in pre-K. Contact us today to learn more about our Voluntary Prekindergarten Program.