Preschool is Where We Learn Social Skills We Need in Life
NPR has a feature on why preschool is the best job training program. Nobel prize-winning economist James Heckman found that the soft skills necessary for success in the workplace — things like “being able to pay attention and focus, being curious and open to new experiences, and being able to control your temper and not get frustrated” — were skills that were learned, not in high school or college, but during preschool!
In fact, there is a narrow window of opportunity to learn these soft skills that pertain to working and relating to people who, if unable to acquire these skills during these critical preschool years, are difficult, if not impossible, to teach later on. Preschool, it turns out, is a good investment for society!
For parents too, preschool is critical for learning skills to get ready for Kindergarten and beyond. Kindergarten, in this era of No Child Left Behind with its emphasis on standardized testing, has redefined Kindergarten as the new First Grade. Skills such as independence, entering a group, pre-literacy such as invented spelling, and numercy skills need to be mastered in Kindergarten these days in order to be ready for first grade.
But that’s not all. There are physical skills to be learned during preschool. Fine motor, necessary for writing, is a big one. Loubina Buxamusa, an Occupational Therapist and Ann Mahoney, an Early Childhood Specialist have an excellent article detailing activities that develop each of these skills: fine motor, sensory, midline crossing, ocular motor control, and eye-hand coordination.
If it seems like the preschool years are critical (they are!), and finding the right preschool seems like a daunting task, fear not. There is no be-all-end-all preschool just like there is no perfect house. It’s all about fit — what works for you and your child. It seems when it comes to job training, all preschools can do the job, though there does seem to be a bias for Montessori to develop future billionaires. Imagine Bill Gates, had he not gone to preschool, would be just another college drop out! Preschool, it seems, made all the difference!
p.s. Here’s a great link from KinderCare: Today I Will Get Lost In a Book: A Guide to Reading withYour Child.
p.p.s. Some more great info: “An overwhelming 93 percent of parents of preschoolers believe that preschool or early learning programs are important in preparing their child for kindergarten and beyond, according to the second annual “Back-to-Preschool” national survey conducted by KinderCare Learning Centers. The nation’s largest private provider of early childhood education polled parents about what matters most to them as parents of preschool children.
Kindergarten-readiness is a recurring theme among parents surveyed. Key survey results include:
• The majority of parents of preschoolers surveyed believe core skills such as literacy and science are critical elements to an early learning program that sets up children for success in kindergarten.
• Seventy-eight percent of preschool parents surveyed think it is important for their child to be able to read before they enter kindergarten
• Four in five parents who think it is important that their child learn to read before kindergarten also think early childhood education/preschool is very important in preparing their child for kindergarten (81%)
• Ninety-three percent believe their child should be introduced to age-appropriate science programs in preschool
• Fifty-three percent of parents surveyed are also looking for a balanced, holistic approach to learning that blends social, emotional, physical and academic learning and development.” Read More…
Image from Kini’s Place.
I’m curious to know: What advice do you have for moms prepping for preschool? KinderCare will choose one lucky participant and make donation in their name to the Reach Out And Read chapter of their choice!