Inputs for the magazine the child- Attributed to Lina Ashar- Chairperson, Kangaroo Kids Education Limited
1. What's the difference between preschool and playschool?
There is absolutely no difference between playschools and preschools. A play school or a preschool is a place where around 10-24 children spend 2 ½ to 3 ½ each day under the supervision of teachers.
Preschool education provides for the optimal development of children during their preschool years. Parents and teachers cooperate in providing the best possible environment for the growth and development of young children. Children learn from experience and by imitation.
2. How important is preschool?
The early years are the ones of rapid growth and development. A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years. A child is born with more than enough brain cells to be highly successful. More than 100 billion!
But it's not the number of brain cells that determines usable intelligence, it's the number of connections that are made between those brain cells.
These connections are formed by the experiences and thoughts that you give to your child through the rich, stimulating environment you provide in the early years. That environment is made up of games, visits, conversations, experiences, activities and loving attention. These valuable and rich experiences are provided through a quality preschool.
During the pre-school years, children have the most valuable rich experiences. Rich experiences, in other words, really do produce rich brains.
In fact, educators have recognized the importance of giving children quality early education.
3. What will my child learn in preschool?
Preschool prepares children for a lifetime of learning. In preschool, children are introduced to concepts in a fun and relaxed environment. Children see that learning is exciting and they want to learn more.
It gives them a jump-start to primary school. They develop pre-reading, pre writing, pre-math skills, science and social skills. They also develop an understanding of listening, following directions as a group, problem solving skills, sharing and taking turns. These are very important for future success in school.
Children in preschool learn an approach to learning itself. In other words, they learn how to learn. Depending on their preschool experiences, they can come to view learning as creative exploration, or as dull memorization.
4. Does he learn A, B, Cs and 1, 2, 3s as well?
In addition to social, problem solving and language skills children are also introduced to basic concepts of A, B, C’s and 1, 2, 3’s.
5 How old should my child be when he starts?
The appropriate age for a child to begin preschool would be 18 months.
6 What is the session? When do admissions begin?
The sessions vary from school to school. They could be from 2 / 2 ½ hours per day, five days a week. The admissions begin in the month of November/ December.
7 How do i choose the right preschool?
Choosing a preschool for your child would require you to invest lots of time and energy in making the right decision.
The following variables should be considered while choosing a preschool.
Proximity to home.
Approaches to discipline.
Accreditation and licensing.
Teacher- Child Ratio.
Teacher qualifications, Professional development training, Staff turnover.
Facilities – Hygiene, space, equipment and (non toxic child friendly) materials.
Security of building and play area.
Environmental factors--safety of neighborhood, traffic near school.
Does your child have special needs? Can they be accommodated at this school?
8 What should i look out for when I visit a preschool?
Things to look out for when visiting a preschool:
1) Go as many times as possible before you make your decision. Any place can look great once. You need several visits to really get a feel of the school.
2) Are the children happy? Sick? Is it chaotic or orderly? How are fights or misbehavior handled? How are kids handled if they're hurt or sad?
3) How are parents incorporated in the preschool program?
4) Lastly, here are some things to remember to put the challenge of finding a preschool in perspective: Know your child. Know yourself. What does your child really need? What do you really want for your child?
5) No place is perfect. Prioritize your wishes. Ultimately, you have to go with your gut.
There is no "best" school. No place is right for every family. Listen to recommendations of others, but always make the decision that is right for you.
Don't let fear of not getting in to a "good" school rush your decision.
Does my kid need to be toilet trained?
Children do need to be toilet trained before starting preschool. Even if the child is almost toilet trained it is alright. Children do have accidents sometimes and pre-schools are very well aware of this. Even the most toilet trained child can have an accident, so pre-schools are not rigid with this policy. In case your child is not toilet trained, make sure that you inform the school about the same.
How much of parent involvement is needed?
Parents play a key role in toilet training. They need to set aside time for and have patience with the toilet training process. Parents can encourage their child to be independent and allow their child to master each step at his or her own pace.
How will the teacher let me know about my child's progress?
Most preschools have parent-teacher meets wherein parents get the chance to interact with their child’s class teacher and discuss the child in depth.
Teachers get to share their experience of having that particular child in the classroom, as well as any improvements in their children’s behavior or development.
It is also the perfect time for teachers to partner with parents and to find methods that will further increase their child’s early education experience.
What's the daily routine?
An ideal preschool routine is a blend of structure and freedom. There should be a balance between child-directed, teacher directed activities, small and large group times, greeting time, and outdoor play time.
A consistent schedule is also very important and helps children build trust in the environment. Young children feel more secure when they can predict the sequence of events and have some control over their environment.
They delight in reminding the teacher that 'snack time comes next' or telling a visitor that 'now we go outside.' In addition, predictability provides children with a basic sense of time, as they begin to learn what comes first in the day, second, next, and last.