How preschool education shapes a child’s character
A parent is a child’s first teacher, but learning should always expand beyond the home with the help of qualified teachers and the company of peers in the same age group. Regardless of which stage your little one is at, a quality preschool education gives your child the opportunity to blossom as a person and pick up skills necessary for life, such as basic social skills and responsibility.
If you’re still on the fence on whether preschool is necessary for your child, here are some of the reasons why we believe preschool education makes a significant impact on a child’s development.
Preschool education plays a huge part in a child’s future
A longitudinal study conducted by HighScope, which followed the lives of 2 groups of children —one entered a preschool program and the other did not— showed that by age 40, the group which experienced a preschool program:
- Had fewer teenage pregnancies
- 77% graduated from secondary school or high school
- Were more likely to have a job with higher wages
- Committed fewer crimes
- Owned a house and car
On top of that, 49% had a basic achievement by age 14, and 67% possessed an IQ level of 90+ at age 5. Granted, this project was conducted over 50 years ago, but several studies have gone on to reinforce its findings, including a 2008 study which concluded that children with an early head start to education are linked to positive cognitive development, increased wage rates and social behaviour.
Interestingly, the study also emphasised the importance of well-designed preschool education programs to reap in long term benefits, including reduced delinquency and crime in adulthood and childhood. As Singapore’s leading Pikler-RIE influenced school, we strongly believe that a high quality preschool program must encourage children to discover new knowledge from their environment, think out of the box and engage in meaningful conversations while cultivating the right moral values.
Attachment styles form early in a child’s life
You might have heard of terms like anxious attachment, avoidant attachment and insecure attachment. These are attachment styles and characterise how someone navigates their romantic relationships and adult friendships. But did you know that attachment styles form at the very beginning of your life, as early as 2-3 years of age?
According to specialists, children need stimulating but not stressful environments with the care of at least one primary caregiver to develop secure attachment styles. These individuals then go on to have normal social and emotional development and are more open to exploration and learning. If your child, for whatever reason, has had a rough start in terms of attachment style, it’s not too late. So long as they are in a nurturing, well-informed and appropriately stimulating environment, they can still work towards building a secure attachment style. A good preschool program can help with that.
Brain development is highest during the first 4 years of life
A child’s brain at 4 is like a sponge; it’s able to process and store information due to important neural paths that form. Not only are children able to learn at a rapid rate, they want and need to as well!
In order for children to learn the best, they need to have structure. Preschoolers thrive in a loving, structured environment filled with stimulating sounds, colours, textures, and a variety of activities and books. A quality preschool program helps set routine and expectations for the child, and as their little brains process these codes of familiarity, they develop a sense of security and belonging too.
One of the reasons why older children (or even adults) experience difficulty acclimating in school or the workplace is because they’ve never really learned social skills when they were younger. It is important that children are socialised by age 5. This includes playing with other children, learning how to listen, saying thank you and please, taking turns, apologising, helping others and learning compassion and empathy.
There are many rich opportunities for children to develop cognitive and social skills in a preschool environment, and it is crucial that they pick these skills up early in life.
Language is acquired, not learned
Ever wondered how to teach children something as complex as language? Well, it turns out that unlike math, spoken language is something kids acquire instead of learn. Take note that this does not include reading and writing, which are skills they’ll pick up in school as they grow older. Many linguists compare language acquisition to learning how to walk — kids eventually figure out how to walk by watching others walk and practicing on their own.
Likewise, in order for a child to master language, what they need is exposure to it. So keep talking to your little one, and engage in conversation with others in front of them. Better still, introduce them to situations where they’ll have exposure to various speech patterns and linguistic input, such as a preschool.
Got questions? Feel free to contact us!
- Barnett, W. S. (2008). Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit, 15–20. https://nepc.colorado.edu/sites/default/files/PB-Barnett-EARLY-ED_FINAL.pdf
- Gerholm, T., Kallioinen, P., Tonér, S., Frankenberg, S., Kjällander, S., Palmer, A., & Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2019). A randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of two teaching methods on preschool children’s language and communication, executive functions, socioemotional comprehension, and early math skills. BMC psychology, 7(1), 59. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-019-0325-9