The debate lingers on about whether or not preschool is necessary or even beneficial for our young children. Overwhelming research shows that giving young children a “leg up” early on can pay off later with long term benefits. According to Todd Grindal of the Harvard Graduate School of Education a child’s brain grows to 90 percent of it’s adult size by the age of 5 making experiences of early childhood critical in a child’s development.
Studies indicate that preschool can benefit children from all socio-economic backgrounds in many ways. Academic achievement is enhanced from kindergarten through high school. Preschool promotes school readiness and aids in social/emotional development. Maybe most importantly preschool activities can help children to focus, to look at issues from different perspectives, and to control their tempers.
The cost of preschool can be an issue for some. However a 2010 report from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce concluded that “for every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to $17.00 in future years”. Savings were calculated on the basis of fewer people receiving welfare, dropping out of school, and turning to crime.
There are alternatives for parents who cannot afford the hefty preschool price tag. Coop preschools are an option for parents who stay at home or who have flexible work schedules. Parents take a “hands on” approach by helping out in the classroom. Parents can also organize their own in home program for their child that includes play dates and field trips to libraries, museums, craft stores and parks.
Children can definitely develop the social and cognitive skills necessary to succeed in life without preschool However, evidence is strong that preschool is valuable in boosting a child’s skills. Our children have to meet ever increasing challenges at school and later at work. Preschool sets them up to succeed throughout their lives.