In honor of South Florida’s last day of school, today I am going to give you all something to think about before the next school year rolls around. If you are the parent of a child who is old enough to begin preschool, it is an option that you should take into serious consideration. Although some parents appreciate the benefits of being able to manage their own time or go back to work with their children out of the house, early childhood education is SO much more than that.
Having worked at a preschool, myself, I have witnessed remarkable changes in some of those children between the time they first walked, more like crawled, though the doors and when they “graduated” on to kindergarten at a local public school. It is one of the greatest, most invaluable services you could do for your child and I’ll tell you why childcare professionals would agree with that assessment.
- Perhaps the most important thing to consider is that while you can try to provide an education from the home, you will not be able to simulate an actual classroom environment full of a diverse group of peers and non-familiar authority figures. This is so unbelievably important because school is definitely an adjustment and preschool provides that environment in a more nurturing and attentive setting, so as to set your child up for success when they finally reach kindergarten age. It should also go without saying that playing with other kids, getting physical activity in, and learning to work cooperatively is leaps and bounds more stimulating than sitting on a couch and staring at a television set day in and day out.
- This is probably the only time your child will have a reasonable teacher to student ratio in the classroom,ever. Chances are, classrooms in elementary through high school will be packed with between 30-50 students being taught by just one teacher. Your child’s best chances of learning basic skills, such as the alphabet and basic math while getting the help and attention they need from an instructor, come from the early childhood education system.
- This is prime time for your child to develop beginning critical thinking and problem solving skills, yes, even at that young of an age. This also has a lot to do with socialization. Especially if your child is without siblings or doesn’t have much interaction with other children their age, this is a great way to instill teamwork, goal setting, sharing, and other social objectives that will be a staple in kindergarten. Not to mention that you can meet other parents to share this time and these experiences with while your children broaden their friendship horizons. You’ll really appreciate the magic of this when you walk into the first day of kindergarten and other kids from your child’s early education program are in their class, which is sure to help ease them into a new situation.
- Self-confidence. This is perhaps what I found to be the most important because I truly believe that the early education environment catalyzes a transformation in children. Many of them come in quiet, unsure of themselves, and a little insecure about separating from their parents. Early education truly brings children out of their shells and gives them the opportunity to explore a new environment and attempt new things while establishing a “try until you succeed” mentality. By the time they enter kindergarten, they will be proud of how far they have already come and will be walking tall into their new classroom, ready to take on the world, instead of clinging to your leg.
So from what I have experienced as a childcare professional, it should be a no-brainer that early childhood education programs and childcare facilities have a laundry list of benefits and open tons of doors for your child, as well as you, if you let them. Centro Mater Early Education and Child Care Services accepts children at as early as six weeks and provides childcare services ranging from preschool, to an elementary charter school, to morning and aftercare programs. Clearly, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Centro Mater, so we hope that you and your child consider taking that journey with us!
To learn more about how Catholic Health Services can help you provide a unique, innovative, and compassionate environment for your children to learn, please log on to https://www.catholichealthservices.org/early-education-and-child-care/catholic-health-services.aspx?nd=32 and join us on Facebook!