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Importance of Preschool

Importance Of PreschoolThe early years of children’s lives are ones of rapid growth and development. They enter their preschool years with a significant background of learning experiences from their family and friends. Teachers of preschool age children therefore work collaboratively with parents to help develop each child as an individual learner.

The importance of preschool education lies in continuing to develop each child’s learning experiences, in order to support them to become confident, eager and enthusiastic learners who understand how and what it is they want to learn. To promote this type of educational experience for the young child, the preschool program needs to take into account:

  • the individual interests of each child
  • the importance of family relationships
  • the need for all children to feel included
  • an understanding of the ways in which children learn

From these general principles preschool education should aim to:

  • provide a safe and stimulating environment in which children can feel content and secure
  • encourage the social, emotional, physical, creative and cognitive development of children
  • encourage positive attitudes to self and others, and develop confidence and self-esteem
  • create opportunities for play, discovery and exploration
  • encourage children to explore, appreciate and respect their environment
  • provide opportunities to stimulate interest and imagination
  • extend children’s abilities to communicate ideas and feelings in a variety of ways

To achieve these goals the faculty needs to focus on more than the activities they provide each day. Values and attitudes are communicated to children by what teachers and other adults in the child’s life say and do and by the expectations set for their learning and behavior. Preschool programs should focus on helping child learn by focusing on:

  • the individual child
  • equal opportunities and social justice of all families
  • partnerships with the child’s family
  • the importance of the community
  • education as a life-long process

Young children are active learners with a natural curiosity to find out about the world around them. Children learn in many different ways but develop best when they feel safe, secure, and confident and have opportunities to learn through what interests them. Children strengthen their awareness of themselves as learners by planning, questioning and reflecting on their learning opportunities. They secure this learning when they are given time and space to engage in activities in depth. They develop theories through investigation, first-hand experience, talk and of most importance play.

Play is an important and powerful role in children’s learning. It provides opportunities for children to:

  • make sense of real-life situations
  • develop awareness of themselves and others
  • explore, investigate and experiment
  • be actively involved in learning
  • draw and test their conclusions
  • develop self-confidence
  • express their ideas and feelings in many different ways
  • inhabit imagined situations
  • act out and come to terms with experiences at home or with friends
  • be solitary, quiet and reflective
  • collaborate with others
  • take the initiative on their own terms
  • practice skills
  • consolidate previous learning
  • be challenged in new learning

In essence, play is the child’s venture.

Information obtained in part from: Education of Children under 5 (SOED, 1994)