Why Attend Preschool? (by Guest Blogger Mandy Alexander)

Berry Bright_big room copy

Public Writing

I have been volunteering out here in Columbia County, Oregon, at a little preschool called Berry Bright. It was part of a college writing class that I had to volunteer. At first I was skeptical and a little put off that I was going to have to devote yet more time to this class as I knew this class was already going to take up an enormous amount of my time. I of course relented and called on some people that I knew there at Berry Bright as my younger sister attended this pre-school. I am somewhat of an introvert and felt that knowing beforehand, the people I would be volunteering for, would somehow make this experience a bit more bearable. Well I have to tell you, the experience was more than just bearable, it was a rewarding and extremely educating experience for me.

I always thought that my sister just excelled at school because she is homeschooled or rather virtual schooled, so she is taught one on one with my mother. She finished kindergarten and first grade all in the same year. I always thought it was because of the individual teaching that she was getting that she was able to accomplish this fete. After spending some time with these young children at Berry Bright pre-school, I see now that it isn’t only the individual teaching that my sister was receiving, but rather the early years of teaching that she received at the pre-school. I witnessed firsthand what it looks like when people say that children are like sponges. These children, any children for that matter, can be taught from a very early age. Furthermore, they want to learn. My little sister was always excited to go to school when she was only three years old; she was always almost racing us out the door to get there sooner!

Socialization skills are very important for people to have. They need to be developed early on for people to be truly comfortable attacking new situations in their lives. I believe that this comfort begins at an early age. By having your children attend a pre-school, you are helping them develop a grasp on social skills. They learn what it means to meet new people and what would be appropriate behavior for when a new person comes into the group. Children also learn how to cope with a lot more situations that may come up with things like sharing toys, sharing time with the teacher and sharing other children. They also may have the opportunity to meet a handicapped child and what is the appropriate way to treat that child. All of these things are crucial for children to learn in order for them to be good citizens in their schools later on.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a volunteer at Berry Bright and I encourage others to do the same if they have some time. It doesn’t take much time and the teachers really love having an extra set of hands, eyes, and ears to help them out. I also encourage parents of young pre kindergarten children to look into pre-school for their child. It can be just as rewarding of an experience for the child as it can be for the parent.

Sincerely,

Amanda “Mandy” Alexander

The Research Collection

Author’s Note:

The most significant thing I learned from this experience, besides time-management, was just how important—almost essential!—preschool is. The kids always loved coming to school, it was clear when the parents would tell their children to “shape up” or they were going straight home; clearly, this was meant as a threat and not an option the kids wanted. They were always learning too, whether they realized it or not. Be it social skills, artistic abilities, or just basic manners—and they were having fun at the same time. In my opinion, preschool should be a federally funded program just like the rest of K-12, so that every child has a chance at this wonderful opportunity.

Introduction:

My research question was: Does a child’s enrollment in preschool improve their learning later in life? I found a lot of evidence in my search for an answer that points to a “yes”.

Part I:

Article #1 Summary: Why Preschool Matters

This article is all about why preschool is so important to your child’s development. It starts out by explaining the difference between childcare and preschool, which is “…[childcare] centers accept babies as well as toddlers and are full-time, full-year programs.” whereas preschool is “…an early-childhood educational class for 3- and 4-year-olds. Many offer part-time schedule[s]…as well as full-day care, but only from September to May.” The article then goes on to explain the importance, the how and whys of it all, of preschool based on accounts from doctors and experts in early child development/education. It also includes a detailed process on how to go about choosing the right preschool for you and your child.

Article #2 Summary: Preschool: Advantages and Disadvantages

This second article, as the title implies, talks about all the advantages and disadvantages of preschool, though the list of disadvantages is significantly shorter. Some of the advantages include: a larger social circle for both you and your child; qualified teachers who can help your child progress cognitively; and though it is similar to daycare, if your child’s favorite teacher is sick another fan fill in for him/her and your child doesn’t miss a single learning opportunity. Some of the disadvantages include things such as requiring that your child be toilet trained (an easy fix) a high teacher-child ratio—something I’ve learned rarely actually happens, if it happens at all—and the possibility of school closures due to holidays, in which case your place of employment could very well be closed for the day as well, so no need to find an alternate source of day care.

Article #3 Summary: Preschool Kids Best Prepared for Kindergarten: Study

The third article I felt a little conflicted about, and I think you may understand why after reading the summary. This article talks about how beneficial preschool is, especially to children who come from poor families and/or who are raised by neglectful parents. The article says that children who come from neglectful parents or poor families who attend preschool are much more successful in later school years than those who do not. I guess I understand what the author is saying, poorer families usually can’t provide as stimulating an environment as wealthier families, and therefore the child suffers more. I guess that makes an excellent point though, and one I could use in my letter to the editor.

Article #4 Summary: Head Start’s Lasting Benefits

This last article talks about some program called Head Start; I don’t know much about it, but from this article it sounds like it is some kind of advanced preschool. From what little I’ve heard about this program, just by word of mouth, it’s a program designed to teach children less than five years of age at a kindergarten level. This article describes a study on the effectiveness of this program and how “lasting” its effects truly are. It’s quite fascinating.

Part II:

Letter to the Editor:

Dear Editor,                                                                                                              March 16, 2013

            I have been volunteering out here in Columbia County, Oregon, at a little preschool called Berry Bright. It was part of a college writing class that I had to volunteer. At first I was skeptical and a little put off that I was going to have to devote yet more time to this class as I knew this class was already going to take up an enormous amount of my time. I of course relented and called on some people that I knew there at Berry Bright as my younger sister attended this pre-school. I am somewhat of an introvert and felt that knowing beforehand, the people I would be volunteering for, would somehow make this experience a bit more bearable. Well I have to tell you, the experience was more than just bearable, it was a rewarding and extremely educating experience for me.

I always thought that my sister just excelled at school because she is homeschooled or rather virtual schooled, so she is taught one on one with my mother. She finished kindergarten and first grade all in the same year. I always thought it was because of the individual teaching that she was getting that she was able to accomplish this fete. After spending some time with these young children at Berry Bright pre-school, I see now that it isn’t only the individual teaching that my sister was receiving, but rather the early years of teaching that she received at the pre-school. I witnessed firsthand what it looks like when people say that children are like sponges. These children, any children for that matter, can be taught from a very early age. Furthermore, they want to learn. My little sister was always excited to go to school when she was only three years old; she was always almost racing us out the door to get there sooner!

Socialization skills are very important for people to have. They need to be developed early on for people to be truly comfortable attacking new situations in their lives. I believe that this comfort begins at an early age. By having your children attend a pre-school, you are helping them develop a grasp on social skills. They learn what it means to meet new people and what would be appropriate behavior for when a new person comes into the group. Children also learn how to cope with a lot more situations that may come up with things like sharing toys, sharing time with the teacher and sharing other children. They also may have the opportunity to meet a handicapped child and what is the appropriate way to treat that child. All of these things are crucial for children to learn in order for them to be good citizens in their schools later on.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a volunteer at Berry Bright and I encourage others to do the same if they have some time. It doesn’t take much time and the teachers really love having an extra set of hands, eyes, and ears to help them out. I also encourage parents of young pre kindergarten children to look into pre-school for their child. It can be just as rewarding of an experience for the child as it can be for the parent.

Sincerely,

Amanda “Mandy” Alexander

Author’s Note:

The most significant thing I learned from this experience, besides time-management, was just how important—almost essential!—preschool is. The kids always loved coming to school, it was clear when the parents would tell their children to “shape up” or they were going straight home; clearly, this was meant as a threat and not an option the kids wanted. They were always learning too, whether they realized it or not. Be it social skills, artistic abilities, or just basic manners—and they were having fun at the same time. In my opinion, preschool should be a federally funded program just like the rest of K-12, so that every child has a chance at this wonderful opportunity.

Title for Blog Post:

I think a good title could be: “Why Attend Preschool?”

Key words:

I’m really not sure how this works, so I’m just going to pick out some words used often in the “letter to the editor” portion: “preschool” “Berry Bright” “one-on-one teaching” “individual teaching” “learning”.

Works Cited

Kanter, Beth. “Why Preschool Matters.” Parents Magazine. Meredith Corporation, n.d. Web. 15

Mar. 2013. <http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/starting-preschool/curriculum/why-preschool-matters/?page=1&gt;.

Unknown, . “Preschool: Advantages and Disadvantages.” BabyCenter. N.p., Mar. 2012. Web. 15

Mar. 2013. <http://www.babycenter.com/0_preschool-advantages-and-disadvantages_6059.bc&gt;.

Unknown, . “Preschool Kids Best Prepared for Kindergarten: Study.” HealthDay News. U.S.

News, 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2013. <http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/02/29/preschool-kids-best-prepared-for-kindergarten-study&gt;.

Barnett, W. S., and Jason T. Hustedt. “Head Start’s Lasting Benefits.” Infants & Young Children

18 (2005): 16-24. Web. 15 Mar. 2013. <http://depts.washington.edu/isei/

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One comment

  1. Ree Anna

    I found your post really interesting because I have always thought that preschool was a good thing for kids too. It really helps kids learn how to share, play nicely with their peers, and also I remember it was great to develop a warm caring connection with another motherly figure. It helped me to become more independent from my mother. I still remember my preschool teacher and she left a very good impression on me. I learned how to sing, and act in plays, and play musical instruments.
    I agree that socialization skills are very important for people to have. While this is all crucial for children to learn in order for them to be good citizens in their schools later on. I wonder if there is any research out there that shows that kids do better being home schooled, it would be interesting to see if there are any articles or journals about this subject. I would like to see the other point of view addressed a bit more in this article. However I feel that this piece of public writing was very informative and well written. And it addressed an important subject which is does an education make children more likely to be good citizens in their adult lives?

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