If you're the parent of a young child, you might be thinking of enrolling him in a daycare, preschool or pre-kindergarten program to prepare him for elementary school. These programs are typically run by those with early childhood education certification and often offer more than just playtime. Many programs will focus on teaching your little one the skills needed to enter kindergarten. Before you choose an ECE program for your child, ensure that your goals for align with the goals of the facility you choose.
A child enrolled in an ECE program like preschool has the chance to interact with children her own age. Your child will learn conflict management, problem solving skills and proper behavior when she spends time with other children. Your goal as a parent or as an educator should be to show children the right way to interact with each other, through manners, sharing, problem solving and spending time together, notes the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. These skills will serve your child well when it's time for elementary school.
You may not realize that your child has a learning disability or social problem until he's properly placed in an ECE program. Structured programs give teachers and parents a chance to assess each child's strengths and weaknesses. A good ECE program should strive to seek out each child's talents and find ways to teach to his weaknesses to create a well-rounded student. An ECE teacher observes each child to identify and support development and works with each child's parents to keep them informed of growth and development, according to the Capistrano Unified School District Early Childhood Education Program.
One of the most important goals of an ECE program should be to get children ready to transition into elementary school, notes the U.S. Department of Education. ECE programs should help children prepare to learn by teaching basic concepts like letters, colors and numbers. While reading skills may not be an issue with younger children, listening skills will be important for your child's future. It also gives children a chance to separate from parents so that kindergarten isn't as much of a shock.
Schedule and Structure
ECE programs should teach children about the importance of schedule and structure. At home, a child may have all day to do whatever she wishes, but in an ECE program, she'll learn about following a schedule and her managing time. When she transitions to kindergarten, your child will be better prepared to manage the structure of her day as she listens to her teacher and follows instructions based on her daily school structure.