By Emily Watson, Director of Cross Roads Preschool & Kindergarten
As a mother of three girls, I feel the weight of every parental decision I make. Even the little things like what’s for dinner or deciding between dance and soccer. One of the most important decisions I’ve made, and continue to make, is how to enrich my children’s lives emotionally, socially, cognitively and physically. With school enrollment season upon us, this decision becomes more urgent.
Parents may wonder what the appropriate age is to send their child to school. Are the things my child is learning at home or at daycare enough? Is my child ready for school? Ultimately, each family is different. However, numerous studies show the powerful impact a high-quality early childhood education has on an individual’s future success in the classroom, in the workforce, and in his/her social and civic development. The consistent message from these studies is children are born ready to absorb their environment. The earlier a child’s natural curiosity is supported with a wide range of learning opportunities, the stronger his/her foundation is for future success.
Early childhood education differs from primary and secondary education. Children 5 years old and younger are likely not ready for the academics of a traditional classroom, so the focus of early education is instilling a love for learning through exploring their world. It’s incredibly beneficial for students entering kindergarten to have practiced social habits like how to be a good friend, when and how to share ideas and what to do when frustrated, mad or sad.
After deciding what age to send a child to school, parents are faced with an equally daunting decision. What type of early childhood education is best? As the Director of Cross Roads Preschool and Kindergarten, a preschool for ages 18 months to 6 years old, the questions I hear most are about our Play-Based program.