Why children should start private school early
Experts suggest early education promotes a lifelong love of learning
To Preschool or not to preschool? That is the question.
How young is too young for kids to start school? This question has always been controversial between parents and professionals alike, but experts suggest that early education promotes a lifelong love of learning.
Starting school at two or three years of age has always been controversial. Many argue "kids are not allowed to be kids anymore." On the contrary, experts say early education promotes a lifelong love of learning.
Misconceptions About Learning
Myth #1: Children don't like to learn.
"This couldn't be further from the truth considering that modern research shows that even before being actually born, while still in the mother's womb, a child responds to musical sounds," says Dan Zebeljan, RMS (a Montessori school, in Brampton, Ontario) director of education and academy principal. "It's a well known trend these days that some expectant mothers play classical music in order to stimulate their yet-to-be-born babies."
Zebeljan explains that between the ages of two to six years old, children are like sponges in a stage that the Montessori tradition identifies as the "Absorbent Mind" stage. "In this stage, children are eager to learn everything and anything," he says. "The questions about 'what is this and what is that?' and then the non-stop follow-ups, like 'but why this and why that?', are clear signs of their innate, inborn curiosity. Hence, it is our job as educators and parents—both must be partners in education—to capitalize on this inborn curiosity by directing, shaping, and forming their need to learn and continue their learning in a nurturing environment."
Myth #2: If exposed to early childhood education, kids will cease being kids.
"The vast majority of children who are not exposed to a structured and prepared environment, by the time they are two to two-and-a-half years old, express clear signs of boredom," Zebeljan says. "Unless there is a supervised and well prepared environment that can address their questions, keep up with their energy and allow them to socialize with their own peers, children will simply become bored and irritable."
In order for learning to occur, he says it must be fun, spontaneous and organic rather than be seen as a chore, a burden or a nuisance. "In fact, in our experiences, the later children start school, the harder it becomes to perceive learning as fun, simply because as they get older, their innate sense of curiosity becomes mitigated with the conscious sense of responsibility," he explains.
Sense of responsibility must be built without its traditional labels associated with 'task-mastering,' which often provokes rejection or resistance in older children. He cites examples of task-mastering when asking children: Did you do your homework? Did you brush your teeth? Did you take out the garbage?
"We want to teach children about the sense of responsibility through the joy of learning so that it becomes their second nature, a meta-cognitive reflex if you will, wherein learning becomes based on their innate curiosity, thus making it contextually fun before it becomes a concept of responsibility," he says. "If executed properly, early childhood education is the mechanism that triggers a sense of responsibility in a natural and not forced upon or enforced way."
Benefits of the Early Childhood Preschool Program
- Early developmental stimulation at the infant level will make them more ready for school.
- Infants who use sign language tend to speak earlier, have a greater interest in books, have higher I.Q.'s, are less frustrated and develop larger vocabularies than non-signers.
- Songs, fingerplays (little rhymes that have specific action for your fingers) and stories learned at a young age are a great way to enhance early literacy skills.
- Partaking in sign language and musical activities utilizes both hemispheres of the brain to promote better learning.
- Learning to walk up the stairs and counting "1... 2... 3" are all a part of developing early math skills.
The Pros and Cons: Is Your Child Too Young for School?
- Most preschools and daycares (public and private) welcome children aged two-and-a-half years and some as young as two years old.
- The best way a child learns is through play. As long as a child knows what it's like to play, he or she is probably ready for preschool.
- Postponing investing in children until school-age is unacceptable, according to some experts.
- Upwards of 20 percent of young children's time and energy are typically spent in play.
- Does your preschooler excel verbally, creatively, cognitively and socially? If so, preschool is for them.
- Children love to have fun. When learning is "disguised" in playing and in games, learning is fun and challenging.
- Preschool is quite affordable.
- Separation anxiety is common in young children, but if your child seems to need more personal attention and is acting out when you leave them, then they might not be ready to attend school.
- Some parents are leery of sending their children to preschool, thinking that they should keep them at home for longer. There are pros and cons. On the one hand, preschool does offer educational advantages, but on the other hand there are many benefits to a child's development in having a lot of contact with their own parents. The choice is a personal one.
- It's quite understandable when parents are leery of preschool. Perhaps you simply want to keep your child at home. There are many benefits to keeping preschool-aged children as close as possible to their parents.
- If you choose to preschool at a private school, they offer your child a wealth of educational benefits that will carry forward much later in life.
- The decision to preschool or not is ultimately up to you. If you do decide to proceed, you can be quite certain that private school will offer distinct advantages over other preschool programs.
What Is in a Preschool Program?
- Preschool promotes healthy personality growth a result of physical, mental and social well-being.
- It can increase feelings of independence, self-confidence and security with adults and other children, and in a variety of situations.
- It ensures each child has a feeling of achievement and accomplishment in what they do.
- Learning and understanding the world around them through play provide an opportunity to explore, experiment, discover and create.
- Preschool encourages self-expression and promotes constructive outlets for emotions.
- It can help cultivate the skills needed for success in school experiences for developing linguistic skills, and perceptual and conceptual play.
- It can help develop positive attitudes towards authority, which will help with self-control and self-discipline.
- It can encourage responsibility.
Advice in Choosing a Preschool