Education is important. This is something most of us know. What might be less obvious, however, is just how important education is at an early age. From the time a child is born to the time they are three years old, their brain will develop at the fastest rate it will develop in that person’s lifetime. When we’re young our brains are like sponges. Everything we encounter, every stimulus is brand new, and our brains need to forge pathways to make connections and make sense of the world around us. These initial pathways formed in early life are the deepest and most crucial to a human brain’s development. This is why children can pick up language so quickly, and why it’s more difficult to learn new languages later in life. This space has been occupied. But education doesn’t stop there, and neither does brain development, of course.
The next most crucial phase in brain development occurs right after this one, which begins around what is typically considered preschool age (three to four years old). This is an important time for kids to learn more about the external world, communication, and society on a small scale. Still, some parents might be skeptical about sending their young child to a preschool program or daycare center. Additionally, cost might be a factor n this decision, so finding affordable day care is also an issue. However, the benefits of attending preschool are numerous and well-researched, but what are they? Here are just four reasons to consider sending your child to preschool or affordable day care when the time comes.
1) Education Now, Education Later
Researchers have found a strong correlation between those who attend preschool at a young age and those who end up attending college later in life. Not only this, but students were often more successful in school at all levels if they attended preschool. A good preschool program helps teach kids how to problem solve, work with others, and think creatively about all kinds of situations. These skills become very useful later on, especially in higher education.
2) Building Social Skills
For someone to live a successful life, they have to learn how to cooperate and deal with others. Preschool is a microcosm of the larger world, bringing a handful of kids together in a community. Earlier development deals more with basic understanding of the self. The next step of development involves understanding the larger world, and that other people exist than oneself. Preschool and daycare are perfect places to ease children into this understanding and prepare them for their social lives as they grow.
3) Learning Discipline
Learning the appropriate ways to behave is crucial for a child to learn at a young age. While a lot of this can be taught in the home, there are aspects of social interaction that need to be learned elsewhere. Being in a social environment with people the same age as you presents the perfect opportunity to learn the consequences of one’s actions. For instance, learning that stealing is wrong while sharing is nice, or that exclusion is mean while inclusion is fair. Having an adult there to guide the children through this learning process helps engender in them a good moral compass. In fact, 70% of children considered “at-risk” are more likely to commit a crime if they didn’t receive a good preschool education.
4) Learning to Let Go
This last one is less about children attending great day care and more about the parents or guardians. There’s an inherent impulse within us to want to be the sole teachers and mentors of our children. However, it takes much more than just one or two people to teach someone the many things there are to know about this world. Sending your child to preschool or an affordable day care center is a big step in learning to let go a bit and let your child learn from others. They will become more self-reliant and well-rounded because of it, and you’ll be better equipped to handle their independence as it grows in early adolescence and beyond.
Sending your child to preschool might not be an easy decision for several reasons, but the benefits are clear. If cost is the biggest barrier, do some research on affordable day care centers near you.