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The Hood Magazine

Choosing a Preschool

Jan 22, 2016 12:10PM ● By Hood Magazine
By Brenda Mitzel, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools

The preschool years are exciting ones! Finding a quality preschool program for your family helps start your child on the right path for their first school experience. So many milestones will happen in these first few short years. For instance, language growth takes major leaps. Children experience rapid physical and intellectual development and begin to discover their independent nature. During this stage, children are learning the skills needed to control their emotions and begin to develop the social skills needed to play with others. A well-designed preschool education program can foster amazing growth for eager learners at this young age.   

High quality preschool programs have a significant impact on children’s early development as they have more opportunities to engage in age-appropriate activities with a wide range of materials such as books, blocks, imaginative play materials and sensory activities. Highly qualified preschool teachers with four-year degree certification and advanced training in early childhood development have a significant impact on student learning. This impact is most pronounced through positive and stimulating teacher-student interactions and results in higher-order thinking skills for young children.

Choosing a preschool within the setting of an elementary school is an incredible opportunity for your child. It can create continuity between the preschool and elementary school experiences that sets a positive tone for lifelong learning. Creating smooth transitions from one level of schooling to the next, from preschool to kindergarten, for example, provides the opportunity for children to feel safe, confident and well adjusted. Children are familiar with expectations like sitting in a circle, and lining up to go to lunch or recess. They also become familiar with the culture and most importantly, the people in school. Children have already developed relationships with the principal, the lunchroom staff, and other teachers in the school, which makes the transition more natural and less likely to produce anxiety. Preschool in an elementary school setting provides the opportunity for preschool teachers to be trained alongside and collaborate with elementary level teachers, who provide alignment in curriculum expectations and a community able to educate the whole child.  

There are many options for preschool in the community. Considering a preschool within an elementary school is an alternative that is well worth exploring.

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