Many of the common concerns about early childhood Singapore-based parents have tended to revolve around education.
Some parents will wonder when it makes most sense to start sending a child to preschool, while others want to know what specific benefits their children will gain from early childhood education.
Most children enter preschool at around the age of three and remain there for two years before beginning their formal schooling at the kindergarten level.
As for the benefits, preschool is a fruitful period for children to pick up essential physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
The preschool years are an especially learning-rich time because a child’s brain grows faster and more extensively in those first five years of life than at any other point in their development.
A good preschool program helps children’s receptiveness to new experiences. Their ability to take in new information is highest in early childhood, which means there’s no better time for them to start learning new things.
The following are just a few important skills your child will take away from their time in a quality preschool program:
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Preschool will support your child’s physical development by giving them many chances to develop and hone their motor skills. Broadly speaking, motor skills are any skills that enable people to perform everyday tasks and movements.
Gross motor skills use the large muscle groups in the arms and legs to perform big movements like walking, running, and jumping.
Fine motor skills, on the other hand, utilize the small muscles in the hands to perform tasks that require high levels of precision and control, such as cutting paper with scissors or feeding oneself.
Early childhood education programs, as well as pediatric physical therapy programs, enable children to exercise their motor skills through a range of different activities.
Outdoor play, for example, draws upon kids’ gross motor skills and helps them build strength, practice their balance, and work on their coordination.
Fine motor skills, meanwhile, come into play when drawing, finger painting, putting together puzzles, and doing other similar activities.
Preschool is likely to be your child’s first opportunity to interact at length with the world outside of your home.
Not only will they be meeting and forming relationships with their teachers, but they’ll also have the chance to make their first friendships with kids their own age.
The preschool setting is thus fertile ground for your child to begin developing important social and interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and empathy.
Playing and learning together every day teaches children important lessons about how to get along with others and how to work together in pursuit of a common goal.
Down the line, they’ll also gradually learn to process and resolve any conflicts that inevitably arise during play. Teachers can help kids develop a healthy approach to interpersonal conflict by mediating between them and their peers when necessary.
Emotional Recognition and Regulation
A good preschool program will help your child gain a fuller understanding of their emotions and those of others.
Beyond teaching kids to identify, describe, and name their feelings, preschool teachers can also show them how to act on these feelings in healthy ways.
A teacher who validates rather than punishes the emotions of an angry or upset child, for example, can subsequently lead that child through a constructive discussion of how they feel. Afterwards, they can begin brainstorming solutions to the child’s problem together.
Learning to recognize and consider how other people feel is another critical component of children’s socio-emotional development. To foster empathy in their young students, preschool teachers often turn to storytelling or roleplaying games.
For instance, they might describe a hypothetical situation, such as one child taking a toy from another, and then ask their students how a person involved in the situation might feel.
Such activities encourage children to engage with the feelings of others and also to consider how people’s actions might affect those around them in significant ways.
Language and Literacy Development
Communication skills refer to a series of interconnected skills that allow children to express themselves to other people and understand others in turn. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills tend to develop together and support each other as the child grows.
By the time they reach preschool age, for example, children are usually ready to start learning the alphabet and drawing connections between visual letters and the sounds they’re associated with. From there, they can start learning to read and write simple words.
The skills, knowledge, dispositions, and behaviors students require to learn and utilize mathematics are known collectively as numeracy. Because mathematics is so integral to navigating everyday life, it’s crucial for children to learn basic numeracy in early childhood.
The earliest numeracy skills children can learn at preschool include recognizing numbers and counting, which will set them up for the more complex mathematical operations they’ll tackle in later years.
Early childhood education will provide your child with a wealth of learning experiences that allow them to use their rapidly developing brains and bodies to the fullest.