Preschool years are the most important years of learning, even though we know for a fact that learning starts from the time of birth, but preschool years are the time when a child achieves the capability of understanding the world around them. During the preschool years, children are capable of absorbing more information than later on. The growth of brain is at its peak during the preschool years. It is a harsh truth that not every child is born equal and blessed with the same capabilities. Hence, the quality of teachers at a preschool can have a long-term effect on improving the chances of children who are not that bright as compared to their peers and can have a head-start in life, in order to improve such disadvantages early on in life through expert guidance provided at preschools.
The areas of development that is covered by the curriculum of a preschool education, varies. However, the following main themes are typically offered.
- social, personal and emotional development
- talking, listening and other communication skills such as sign language
- physical growth and development
- mental and physical athleticism
- leadership and teamwork
- self-help skills
- personality development
- better social skills
- practical thinking
- knowledge and understanding of the world
- boosting creativity
The standard structure that a preschool system observes are administration of the preschool which includes class size, the ratio of students to teacher, quality of classrooms, the environment of classroom, children-teacher interactions and curriculum, assessments, standards to align the students with their respective components. The curriculum is designed as per the age of the kids in preschool. For example, learning counting numbers or the abc’s is done generally after the age of 4. At the age of 2 or 3 teaching through imitation is practiced.
Some studies are disputed with the idea of preschool education, which argue that preschool can be detrimental to a child’s cognitive and social development. Research has also shown that the home environment has a better and positive impact on a child’s future proficiency than preschool.
But there is also evidence certifying that preschools which are ‘play based’ in nature, refraining from attempting to provide early education on academic subjects are better at providing high quality service to the preschoolers. Hence, the term ‘play school’. At a preschool children are away from the influence of majority of adults except for their care takers and teachers which gives them the opportunity to play with other children of their age and learn to make their own decisions and control their emotions by understanding unfamiliar situations and developing the ability to learn from their mistakes and from each other. An exchange of emotions among the children help them develop a better understanding of themselves and others and for meaningful relationships with others by making friends which has a vital role on the development of the child which is a huge feat at such delicate age. And that is how children from a very young age can become independent by learning to take control of their lives and make better individuals in the future.
Skills such as speaking some words, understanding basic gestures, standing on both legs are the examples of developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are the things that most of the children can ably do by a certain age. These milestones are reached when the child gets exposure through playing, learning, speaking, and moving (like crawling, walking on both legs, or jumping).
As children grow into early childhood, their world will begin to open up. They will become more independent and begin to focus more on adults and children outside of the family. They will want to explore and ask about the things around them even more. Their interactions with family and those around them will help to shape their personality and their own ways of thinking and moving. During this stage, children should be able to ride a tricycle, use safety scissors, notice a difference between girls and boys, help to dress and undress themselves, play with other children, recall part of a story, and sing a song.