Preschool key to early education success

The brain of a child is a uniquely complex; lifelong development potential and learning methods are formed in a child’s early years. This development is extremely sensitive to external influence, which is where a qualified preschool can immensely benefit the child’s development.

The mass amount of benefits children receive from attending preschool can be stretched across personal learning gains, socioemotional development, physical development and even developing good health.

Scientific evidence has shown that children can gain anywhere from a third of a year to a year of learning progress by attending preschool. These learning advancements are in the areas of language, reading and math skills. Curriculum programs that focus on these areas target mental growth but have proven benefits to children’s socioemotional development as well.

Particularly when the child is involved in an engaging learning interaction with a teacher or staff, there is a substantial boost to a child’s learning.

The ratio of student to teacher is an important aspect of this equation. The lower ratio of staff to children increases the likelihood of supportive and stimulating learning experiences. Positive and stimulating experiences have proven gains in the child’s language, literacy, mathematics and social skills.

Students who attend a second year of preschool have demonstrated continued learning and development, although the gains are somewhat less incremental than the first year. Studies show that economically disadvantaged children particularly demonstrate additional growth from a second year of preschool.

Another benefit of preschool is the practice of good health that overflows into the child’s family.

The preschooler will be screened for vision and dental, as well as trained (at their level) on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Another benefit to the young learner’s well-being is that preschools require immunizations. Research has shown that exposing preschool children to these healthy practices can increase the use of medical care and dental care.

The important benefits of preschool have gained support at the statehouse, both through Gov. Mike Pence and State Superintendent Glenda Ritz. Although their views vary, both are advocating preschool attendance in different ways. Ritz has called upon the Legislature and Pence to adopt a universal pre-K education program that would offer free preschool to all students regardless of family income.

Pence has advocated for the “On My Way Pre-K” pilot program that was launched in five counties last year and sent approximately 2,300 low-income children to preschool. His view favors providing preschool and the benefits of early childhood education to low income families.

It is imperative to select a quality preschool that can provide the most gains for children. Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. is opening the “MiniMarauder Preschool Early Learning Academy” on Aug. 1. Education experts are designing the curriculum and projects, as well as hiring and training the staff that will be engaging in educational interaction with young learners.

Laura Durig, director of special education and MiniMarauder Preschool, states, “We see, first-hand ,what a student needs in kindergarten and what students need at a young age to develop a love of learning. We see several kindergartners each year that would have benefited from the daily social interaction and learning gained from attending preschool. We plan to develop this preschool with an educational atmosphere where students feel comfortable to explore and learn through discovery.”

Parents can learn more about the “MiniMarauder Preschool Early Learning Academy” at preschool.mvcsc.k12.in.us .

The education field has a plethora of research on the importance of attending preschool which overwhelmingly supports the substantial gains children make. Preschool has proven to develop children cognitively as well as socially and strives to develop the foundation for a lifelong love of learning in each child.

Maria Bond serves as the director communications for Mt. Vernon Community School Corp.