Your tiny baby has somehow turned into a toddler, and now she's getting ready to strap on a brand-new backpack and discover the new world of preschool. At first glance, it might seem like all the kids do is play, and you might wonder why you're paying money for something your little one could do for free at home. Rest assured that preschool is important and has a greater purpose than just being another place to drag out every toy on the shelves.
Perhaps the top purpose of preschool is to get your little one ready for kindergarten, even if you don't think you'll ever be ready to let her go. Prior introduction to colors, numbers and letters gives your child a jump start in the classroom because she already has important skills under her belt that help ensure success. The preschool years are a critical window for brain development, according to "Psychology Today." This makes the choice to enroll your child important because she'll lay the foundation for her future by grasping early skills necessary to make her later school years successful, even though she thinks she's just playing.
Learning to interact with other children is one of the top purposes of preschool, as well as giving your little one the opportunity to practice listening, waiting and taking turns. The preschool classroom is a place to learn appropriate interactions with peers and teachers, as well as foster conflict resolution and cooperative play skills. Preschoolers aren't exactly known for their willingness to share and show emotions without a temper tantrum, but getting your little one into preschool can help when all your efforts seem to go unheeded.
You probably don't want to wipe your child's nose, put on her shoes and force-feed her breakfast for the rest of her life. Preschool teachers don't do these things; they teach your little one to do them for herself. This is ideal because it prepares your child to take responsibility for herself, which she'll have to do as she gets older. After all, her eighth-grade teacher probably isn't going to remind her to wear a coat when it's cold outside. The independence that your preschooler gains can boost her self-esteem and empower learning, notes the Preschool Growth Program of Australia.
When you gaze at your little one's sweet face, it's hard to imagine the possibility that she'll grow up and not be the perfect little angel you see now. Research published in the journal "Science" in 2011 reports that children who attend preschool are at a lower risk for criminal activity, alcoholism and drug addiction in adulthood. In addition, kids who go to preschool have higher incomes and are more likely to have advanced education degrees. Of course, you still have to be careful about choosing a reputable program because the quality of education is more important than your child simply being present in a classroom.