Today, many parents are adamant that the preschools they consider for their child offer highly stimulating environments to help children learn and develop. Parents are well-informed when they begin to conduct their research into preschool programs, understanding that the early years of childhood are essential to forming the basis of intelligence and the capacity to learn and nurture oneself well into adulthood.
There is a high demand for academic-focused preschool programs due to consistent and strong early childhood research, which demonstrates that:
- Brain development occurs most rapidly in the early years of life. The development of a child can be impacted seriously without quality stimulation, nurturing and support during these years.
- Early interventions for disadvantaged children can lead to great improvements in a child’s health, growth, as well as social and cognitive development.
- Children who receive the support they need during their formative years experience greater success when they reach school age. As adults, these children tend to have better quality employment, a higher income, improved health, less tendency towards crime and lower levels of dependence on welfare than those who did not have the same early childhood education opportunities.
- Improving early childhood and preschool programming is an investment, not a cost. Studies into the cost-benefit ratios of early intervention demonstrate that for each dollar that is spent on improving early childhood development, we see an average return of at least 4 to 5 time the amount invested – and in some cases, even more.
For these reasons and more, parents are demanding that preschools offer highly academic programming to give their children the best possible start in life. However, it is important to note that “academic” does not necessarily refer to a teacher-directed preschool program that is highly structured to prepare children for school. There are several other approaches and philosophies of early childhood education that can help a child achieve school readiness and give them a solid foundation for the future.
Though they may at first search for a high-quality academic program with a set curriculum, today’s parents are often looking for preschool programs that offer an emergent curriculum. This approach to early childhood education is in many cases considered a best practice to allow young children to learn and develop, exploring their unique areas of interest rather than having teachers guide learning through a strict, pre-set curriculum.
Whether you are a parent who is more drawn to academic preschool programs, or are interested in the emergent curriculum approach, one fact remains: Giving your child the support they need at a young age can have a great impact on their development well into adulthood!
What are your thoughts on how parent preferences for early childhood education programs are changing? Join the conversation at @HiMamaSocial and make sure to sign up for updates from our HiMama Blog for updates on similar content in the future!