Studies indicate that children who attend preschool are more prepared for kindergarten than those who do not. A quality preschool curriculum helps your child build a foundation of social and developmental skills that will them excel in school. Though there is no disputing the benefits of preschool, there is some controversy regarding when your child should start preschool and whether or not preschool benefits toddleraged children.
Most children start preschool between three and four years of age. However, you can find preschool programs for younger children as well. Young children, including toddlers, can benefit from these programs. Read on to understand a few of the benefits that preschool has for your toddler-aged child.
1. Preschool Gives Your Toddler the Ability to Socialize
If your toddler is not used to playing with other children, preschool gives your child a valuable opportunity to socialize and interact with other kids their age. Developmentally, children do not actually start to play with other children until they are approximately three years of age. Prior to this, children engage in a developmentally-appropriate activity known as parallel play.
Parallel play occurs when your child plays alongside another child, and it usually begins the ages of two and three. The children do not play together; rather, their play is independent and they are simply in the same proximity as one another. However, parallel play has a number of advantages for your child.
During parallel play, your child may try to copy the children they are playing with. This can encourage your child to try new activities that can help develop motor skills, like stacking blocks. The nearby children may talk as they play. When your child hears those around them conversing, this gives them the chance to develop their own language skills.
Regular parallel playtime also establishes the foundation of future social skills. Your child will learn how to share and interact with another child. Those these actions seem natural to adults, they develop over time in young children. Preschool offers numerous opportunities for your toddler to engage in parallel play.
2. Preschool Encourages Toddlers to Be More Independent
New activities are frightening for some toddlers, and this includes learning new skills. Preschool provides your toddler with a comfortable setting to practice and improve important life skills. Some of the skills that your toddler may practice during a typical day include going to the restroom independently, serving themselves a snack, cleaning up toys, and putting away their belongings at the start of the school day.
The opportunity to practice these skills and to observe other children completing these activities gives your toddler the boost they need to attempt these activities on their own.
3. Preschool Is Fun
Preschool gives your toddler the option to participate in a number of fun activities, such as story time, playground play, crafts, dress-up, and games. Your child will receive regular mental stimulation and have the opportunity to stay physically active throughout the day. The knowledge that their toddler enjoys their day is comforting for many parents who are unsure about sending them to preschool.
4. Preschool Helps Your Toddler Get Used to a Routine
For children who do not attend preschool, the set routine of a kindergarten day may feel like a shock. By introducing your child to a scheduled day during the toddler years, you give them more time to acclimate to a structured setting. Remember, structure does not always equal work. Your toddler will move between exciting, mentally stimulating activities throughout the day.
However, they will learn that certain activities take place during specific times. Some toddlers struggle with this concept. An early introduction to preschool can help ease them into a regular schedule.
Do you feel like your toddler can benefit from a preschool setting? Contact Kids & Company today to learn more about our toddler program.