According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, about 75 percent of young children in the U.S. attend a preschool program before entering kindergarten. The ASCD also credits early childhood education programs with lasting effects on students, including increased likeliness to graduate high school, get a high-paying job and avoid crime. Preschool gives young children such a strong advantage due to a well-rounded curriculum focusing on various aspects of early childhood development.
Preschool teachers focus on emotional development, laying the groundwork for a lifetime of positive communication techniques and healthy relationships. With fun activities, such as songs, puppet shows, stories and dance parties, preschool children explore a range of emotions and learn effective ways for communicating different feelings they may have. While clapping along to "If You're Happy and You Know It," or listening to the story of "The Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle, young children experience the benefits of emotional development.
During preschool, young children engage in many activities which strengthen both their large and small motor skills. By using plastic tweezers, eyedroppers, small blocks and puzzle pieces, preschoolers build up their fine motor abilities, gaining the control necessary for forming letters and pictures. Fine motor control also aids in self-help activities including, fastening buttons and zippers, using utensils and brushing teeth. Preschoolers build up large muscles with outdoor activities, allowing them to practice skipping, hopping on one foot, throwing a ball and other skills appropriate for their age group.
Many preschool lesson plans involve the exploration of various themes, exposing young learners to learning units, such as space, farms, dinosaurs, transportation and many more. While studying these topics, preschoolers learn about animals, shapes, sounds, and roles of the community. More importantly, they learn to use reason and problem solving skills. They also begin to sort and classify objects and put events in logical sequences. Through play in the preschool classroom, young children acquire skills that will contribute to future academic success.
For many small children, preschool brings their first experience in peer interaction. By focusing on group activities such as, circle time and learning centers, preschool teachers enforce the concepts of sharing, taking turns, listening and empathy. Preschool classrooms also have dramatic play areas where young children can take on roles of teachers, parents and community helpers. By engaging in pretend play and emulating others, preschoolers practice socializing. Preschool gives young children constant exposure to peers, strengthening their social development.