Last month, an editorial from former Elementary Principal and Author, Rob Furman, brought readers’ attention to the lack of importance we give Preschool in the United States. Whereas in years past, society viewed the ‘before Kindergarten’ school experience as non-compulsory, there is a growing sentiment to require children to enter a teacher-led learning environment, well before they approach age five.
This idea is being fueled by the fact that Kindergarten classrooms of today don’t look like they did in the past. Instead, what is being taught, mirrors the what the 1st grade used to look like. “…Kindergarten is the new 1st grade. They are expected to be reading, writing and doing some pretty difficult math,” points out Furman. More is being asked of our Kindergartners, other than just hanging up their coats and saying please and thank you.
Preschool also gives kids needed time to learn through play, while interacting with a larger group of their own peers. They learn to communicate by ‘using their words’ – for small children this usually means playing things like dress-up and learning how to take turns. Nancy Radosta, co-owner of The Goddard School in Castle Rock, agrees. “Kids need to be imaginative and to socialize (in preschool)-that’s what fosters creative, well-rounded people.”
However, in Colorado, though law does not require children to attend Preschool, some want to see this change. Requiring Preschool for children will help them avoid setbacks they might experience without having the chance to build an essential learning foundation. “Kindergarten teachers will tell you that a student who comes to school, with good social and behavior management skills, is one that will be ready to learn,” she went on, “- and a quality preschool program will build skills such as how to compromise, be respectful of others and problem solve.”
So until Preschool is mandated, it is the choice of the parent as to whether they want their child(ren) to have that early introduction to a school environment, or not. But know that when they arrive for their first day of Kindergarten, they will be in a classroom with other children who have been exposed to early learning. And as many studies show, starting them off on the right foot sets them up for a lifetime of success; making the sacrifice of Preschool well worth it.
The Goddard School
4340 Woodlands Blvd
Castle Rock, CO