Academic demands on learners have been on a steady increase over the years, and this has trickled down to the little ones. Preschool curricula today seem to be heavily influenced by the present culture that is obsessed with tests and academic achievement. However, the fact that preschools today feel a lot like regular schools may not deliver the positive outcomes all parents want for their children.
The wrong approach
Why is this? Simply put, because children typically do not learn in the same ways as older children or adults. As such, while parents may want to give their children an academic edge when choosing preschool programs, they need to do it with an understanding of what would actually help their children thrive at their own level. And children learn when they play, a fact that many people don’t appreciate.
When we talk of children at play, don’t envision little ones left to run amok. We’re talking about structured play that is intended to provide a foundation for creativity, problem-solving, self-regulation and overall learning. In fact, structured play allows children to master the skills they’ll need later for academic subjects.
Playing with soap bubbles may seem like an aimless activity, but it actually stimulates a child’s interest in science learning. Playing with building blocks establishes the foundation a child needs to understand geometry later on. Children can also develop their motor acuity through repetitive play activities such as completing a puzzle, dismantling it and then putting it together again. Listening to stories during story time helps kids develop the pre-reading skills they need such as wordplay, reading and the ability to follow a plot.
This is not to say that unstructured play doesn’t help too. Playing outside with other kids helps children develop their social skills. Allowing them to safely explore their surroundings at preschool or while at home fosters their sense of curiosity, which will increase their enthusiasm for learning. When young children have the opportunity to discover things on their own, it provides a great learning benefit to them.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of technology demonstrated the learning potential that free play offers. In the study, the kids got to play with an interactive toy that could squeak, play music, light up and more. One group of kids were shown how to make it squeak, while the other group was given no instructions. At the end of the experiment, the undirected kids had discovered everything the toy could do through simple experimentation, while the other group could still only make it squeak.
Choosing a preschool program
What does all this mean for parents choosing a preschool program for their kids? Primarily, that you focus on the things that actually matter in terms of your child’s development. It means not looking for a preschool with regimented learning activities that will take up the bulk of the day. Keep in mind that your child is more likely to develop from a play-based curriculum.
Spanish for fun! offers students a variety of opportunities to play, discover and share. If you want to give your child an educational jumpstart, we are your best option. Get in touch with us today to schedule a tour of our Wake Forest Daycare campus. We want you to see our facilities, meet the staff and learn about our unique Spanish-based curriculum. Call 919-881-1695 or complete the form on the homepage. We look forward to showing you why your child will thrive with us.