Preschool is typically the first structured learning environment for toddlers, designed to instill critical building blocks needed to succeed in life. These include social skills, emotional development, academic awareness, cognitive abilities, and speech. According to a National Education Association research study, “providing a high quality education for children before they turn five yields significant long-term benefits.”
Social Skills and Emotional Development
Early childhood education helps children learn how to play and interact with others and communicate effectively to best reduce conflicts. With continued and proper guidance, learning appropriate social skills can drastically change how a child interacts with others in a positive fashion throughout their lives. Skills like sharing, impulse control, and following instructions are all greatly improved.
An article from the National Association for the Education of Young People stated, “The absence of positive social interactions in childhood is linked to negative consequences later in life, such as withdrawal, loneliness, depression, and feelings of anxiety.”
Children with preschool experience excel at math and literacy skills, and they also show an enhanced curiosity for science. These are strong indicators that a child will continue to thrive educationally. Small projects are implemented to teach kids, producing a less stressful environment. Games involving matching shapes, sizes, or numbers are common tools, among others.
Additionally, many learning disabilities can be identified in early childhood education, and interventional support can be instituted if necessary.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Young children need teachers who take time to work with them individually, in small groups, and sometimes with the entire class to help them develop their cognitive and social skills, their language abilities and their interest in learning new things about the world.”
Cognitive Skills and Speech
Children develop or expand their vocabulary and fine-tune their speech at an early age. “By age 5, children essentially master the sound system and grammar of their language and acquire a vocabulary of thousands of words,” stated Eric Hoff, Ph.D., in a research paper published by the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Preschools provide environments to help kids cultivate conversational speech patterns and communicate more effectively, better preparing them to master the sound system and grammar.
A research report published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development revealed that children who attend preschool show “increased high school graduation rates and decreased crime and delinquency rates.”
United Way of Greater Cleveland funds numerous programs through its Community Impact agenda to support early childhood education for low-income children in Cuyahoga County. The importance of preschool in developing social and emotional development and cognitive and speech skills using specialized academic strategies is of great importance. When all children are given the opportunity to learn at an early age, they are more prone to succeed in life, becoming a vital part of their community’s success.