Kindergarten is a big deal. Not just because it’s when we first see our babies off into a formal school setting (grab the tissues), but also because it’s the foundational year for academic success throughout a child’s life. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is the title of a popular book, but it also shares a lot of truth about how important the lessons in kindergarten are (both about academics and about relationships with others). In this blog, we’ll take a look at what a high-quality preschool program should include and why our daycare center is a great choice for kindergarten prep.
Why is Early Childhood Education so important?
Before getting too far, it’s important to emphasize what a difference preschool makes, whether it’s at home, at daycare, or in a school setting. The following statistics are derived from this article on Think Progress:
- “A child without an early childhood education is 25% more likely to drop out of school, 40% more likely to become a teenage parent, and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.”
- There is an estimated 10% return on investment (ROI) for high-quality early childhood education (which is higher than the stock market’s average of 7.2%!).
It’s incredible to consider how high-quality preschool can completely change the trajectory of a child’s life. Here’s what a child should be working on during kindergarten preparation in preschool.
Before we get into academics, we’ll take a look at social and emotional development, since relationships are crucial to success in life. Learning how to interact with others should be a focal point of great preschool programs. Preschoolers should be learning how to share, how to respect others, and how to express themselves (their feelings, moods, and opinions) in a healthy way. They should also begin taking pride in their work and feeling invested in their creations. Of course, these skills can be developed at home or in homeschool groups, as well as in a daycare center or preschool program; the most important thing is exposing a child to lots of situations where he/she has to coexist with peers. They also need a high level of trust with the adults who are helping them to navigate their social and emotional development, as preschoolers need to be comfortable in experimenting and exploring. After all, one of the best ways that children learn is through experiences! Be sure to observe the environment and inquire about how preschoolers will engage in social and emotional development during their kindergarten prep.
Don’t worry, your preschooler doesn’t need to know how to read by the time they get to kindergarten. Literacy is simply the term that describes everything related to communication — reading, writing, speaking, and listening. And, there are certain skills that will be very helpful for your preschooler to master before getting to kindergarten. For example, preschool-age children should be able to identify all of the letter and the sounds that each letter makes. They also should be using reading-like behaviors, like “reading” a book by using the pictures to make up stories, memorizing favorite stories, and following along in a book when an adult reads. This also includes “reading” the stories they write/draw, as well as being able to retell and predict stories. As for writing, preschoolers need to know how to write their names and how to use forms of early writing like scribbling, drawing, or letter strings.
One of the major perks of preschool at Breakie Bunch’s daycare center is that all children learn Spanish, which has benefits like helping children pay closer attention to detail, exhibit more creativity, excel at complex problem solving, and more.
Another important curriculum item for kindergarten prep is math. While many children know how to count before kindergarten, there are other conceptual skills that they should learn in preschool. For example, they should know how to compare (using words like more/less/same), sort (by color, size, or other common attributes), and classify objects. They should also be able to recognize simple patterns, learn the names of geometric shapes, and understand direction, order, and positions (like up, down, over, under, etc.). For a great resource on math milestones for preschoolers, check out this article from PBS.
Play-Based Learning and Breakie Bonuses
While these are some of the main curriculum items, we should establish that there are a few different philosophies in preschool programs, with the most popular being play-based or academic. The following excerpt via Learning Without Tears explains the differences:
Play-based learning embraces giving children time to carry out their own ideas through play. Children are allowed to explore information in their surroundings in an experiential, exploratory way, rather than in a didactic, script-based format. Play-based learning incorporates sensory learning and can include activities such as the arts, nature, and music. The teacher’s role in play-based learning is to provide the children with stimulating, imaginative ways to play and assist them in their exploration. The primary difference between the two methods of learning is that play-based learning is student-initiated, whereas didactic learning is teacher-led.
At Breakie Bunch daycare, we believe that children learn best through play and when they are engaged in their learning. As such, we offer lots of hands-on learning opportunities via sensory exploration and experiential learning to help them succeed. We also focus on social studies, science, and physical health and development. Our daycare offers a fully fenced-in playground and security cameras in each room. To help parents see more of what their children are involved in at our daycare/preschool, we also use the Tadpoles app to send pictures and video right to their phones. If you’d like to learn more about our preschool program, check out the full program page. And, if you’re interested in learning more about what to look for in a high-quality daycare or preschool program, you can check out this blog we wrote to learn more.
Questions about our Waterford, MI-based daycare and preschool programs? We’d love to chat with you and learn more about your needs! Reach out anytime via this contact page