How Important is Pre School?
Syeda Shamin Mortada
Early education child experts indicate that children are fully capable of learning at a very young age. According to Dr. Fahmida Tofail, Asst. Scientist, Child Development Unit, ICDDR, B “The nerve connection of a child increases from birth and the brain is most receptive till 5 years of age. Therefore this is the time for gathering maximum information for optimum development in all the domains/areas of child development.” Nurturing a youngster's enormous capacity for learning and understanding can help a child be better prepared socially, emotionally and academically for school when introduced to a structured learning environment at a tender age. Kindergarten teachers strongly believe that preschool is extremely beneficial for children. Dr Fahmida believes “Stimulation has a long lasting effect in children when received at an early age. Stimulation includes cognitive, emotional, social and motor development. And all these stimulation a child can receive in a good pre school.”
It is said that kids who do not develop certain skills before starting school are more likely to be retained, be slow learners, have behavioral problems, or be deferred or referred to special education. Kindergarteners who attended preschool have better pre-reading and math skills than their peers who stay at home. Maybe it's just kindergarten but there is evidence that children who are behind before they get to school spend a lifetime lagging.
Three to five years are a curious lot yearning to know the world around them. They are capable of learning a great deal and take lessons from their environment. How seeds sprout, how water flows, why rain falls, how it feels to push and pull clay to make little things out of them, how colours change when two paints are mixed and so on. Good preschools give the little ones plenty of opportunities to know their world. A preschool should open up an exciting new world for every child. It is in a preschool that children learn how, to get along with other kids, to share and cooperate and gradually grow to be self confident and independent. It is said that every child should attend preschool before he enters a kindergarten; preschoolers are more primed to learn to read and play with other children, follow instructions, recognise numbers, alphabets and even shapes and colours.
Most importantly preschools teach children to be comfortable outside home. They learn how to control their feeling and also to express them, how to get in a group and take their own ideas and run with them, they get the opportunity to be leaders and also to let others lead them; a good preschool encourages all sorts of natural learning. Depending on their experiences they come to view learning as sheer fun or as dull and a hard task to achieve. A good pre school sets the stage fore later learning and is responsible for developing various positive attributes in children. A pre school teacher on the other hand has a significant role to play as well; a loving caregiver, a mentor sowing the seeds of learning, a physical instructor playing with them, a guide to the creative world of art, music, rhymes and stories and many more things.
Whilst choosing a pre school for a child there are certain things parents need to keep in mind. It is better if you decide to visit the school prior to the admission.
Observe the classroom layout; are there enough opportunities for your child to move around from space to space? A pre school classroom shouldn't look like a school class room. Instead of tables and desks in regular rows it should be nicely decorated; an enjoyable environment for children to learn and play. Do the children seem busy, happy, interested? See how the teacher deals with each of the students. A good teacher keeps tabs on her charges, aware of the activities of every child, listening to them and patiently teaching them various things. According to the Child Development Scientist “The teachers have a vital role to play here. They should therefore receive adequate training and knowledge. Each child is unique and it is the duty of the teacher to understand each child. The student teacher ratio is also an important factor.”
A good pre school will be like a second home for your little one where he will learn the important lessons of cooperation and negotiation. Dr. Fahmida further adds “The government has taken Early Childhood Education (ECD) very seriously. With the help of different NGOs and donors, various ECD programmes are going on around the country targeting the middleclass, poor and hard core poor children.”
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