Posted on 02/22/2011 at 08:01 AM by Global Reach
We know that preschool offers many benefits to its participants. Children who attended high quality programs that implement a curriculum, assess children's skills, and combine both (curriculum and assessment) to guide instruction will be more prepared to move into a kindergarten setting and beyond, including the work force after graduation. A vital component in ensuring quality is the certified teaching staff, who receive ongoing professional development in implementation of a research-based curriculum, including assessment. Early brain research tells us the brain is at a peak in the preschool years for language learning and social-emotional skills learning, which are two strong components of preschool education. Teachers in the early childhood classrooms combine verbal and nonverbal learning to support skills growth in pre-academic learning. These educators use many strategies (music, singing, talking, hands-on learning) to engage children in exciting activities that support young children gaining new knowledge.
Research lends itself significantly to the benefit of preschool education primarily because it allows all children in a program to be more prepared for the eventual rigor of kindergarten. The PEW Center on the States recently published a report on investing in young children titled, “Paying Later: The High Cost of Failing to Invest in Young Children”. In summary, they state that the rewards of healthy early childhood development show substantial educational, social, and financial benefits not only for the children, but for the community as a whole. The NIEER (National Institute for Early Education Research) recently showed in their “Debunking the Myths: Benefits of Preschool” article that ALL children in a universal preschool program (study based on Oklahoma’s universal prekindergarten) share the benefits of being more ready for kindergarten and beyond.
In a 2004 poll (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,2004 poll), a significant majority of kindergarten teachers believe their students would be better prepared if they had participated in prekindergarten. Most of their comments were based on children who had previously attended a prekindergarten program.
Above all, there is significant evidence that the key component, to all strong classroom/learning environments, is a teacher and staff who build relationships with the young children and their families. The goal of these relationships is to support the goals and aspirations that family has for their child(ren). Teachers in a high quality program gather information from families to use in the classroom so they can focus learning on individual needs.