When parents enroll their three or four-year old child in a structured preschool learning environment, it represents a pivotal turning point in their childhood development. While there is a myriad of issues involved in transitioning a child from a home environment to preschool setting, there are tremendous benefits to ensuring that preschool aged children learn how to adjust in their new environment.
Early Childhood Brain Development
Aside from issues such as separation anxiety, determining the readiness for preschool aged children is linked to whether they are socially, emotionally, physically, or cognitively prepared to engage in a structured educational program while in the company of a caregiver and other children. Research on brain development shows that the first 5 years of life are critical to a child’s ability to cope, learn, and adapt to new social and learning environments.
In the article “Brain Development” by First Things First, an organization focused on early education and health programs, about early childhood brain development, it states that “Early brain development has a lasting impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and in life.” Exposing children to a preschool curriculum can certainly have a lasting effect in their social and cognitive development, as these experiences play an important role in how their brain develops.
Effective Preschool Curriculum
A curriculum that combines academic learning and social interactions is an effective method in helping preschool children adapt to an educational learning environment for the first time.
While a 2017 New York Times story "Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools" written by Dana Goldstein explores a growing debate between academically based vs. socially focused preschool, there’s no doubt that integrating both approaches can create a path to learning.
Whether teaching problem-solving skills or planning fun activities for social and emotional development, preschool aged children can grow and mature at this important stage of childhood development.