The advantages and disadvantages of preschool education can be many and varied according to each parent’s personal expectations and situation.
The advantages are that it helps to prepare children for the ‘real world’ preschool education experience. It does this by allowing interaction with other children in the appropriate age group and teaching age appropriate preschool curriculum skills to these children in small groups allowing more one on one and hands on experience with the teacher. In most cases the teacher is female and the child relates to her as it would its mother. This is a definite advantage to enhancing the learning experience.
The child is usually first enrolled in a three-year-old preschool education setting. This group setting allows for the child to become accustomed and accept the separation from the mother for short periods of time, usually one half day several days a week. This three-year-old preschool group teaches proper interaction with others in the same age group and some very basic needed skills as sharing, manners, and appropriate playgroup interaction. The child usually remains in this three-year-old preschool group for a period of one school year.
The three-year-old preschool may also be incorporated into the daycare setting for the child if the mother or both parents are working. The child would leave the daycare group and most usually be taken into a separate area with the other preschool children in the age group for the group instruction time. This allows for a sense of pride and growth for the child that they are ‘going to school’. They usually return to the group in the daycare facility outside the schooling area after the preschool experience ends for the day.
Upon completion of the required course of study for this three-year-old preschool group, the child will usually turn four over the summer break and return to the preschool education /daycare setting or another facility for the four-year-old preschool experience
The disadvantages of the three-year-old preschool are not many, but can be annoying and provide the setting for a poor preschool experience for the teacher, child and the parents the following year. The child may not be mature enough at three-years-old to interact with others his or her age. The child may not be mature enough to be separated from the parents for a length of time several times a week for preschool. Such immaturities would lead to disruption in the classroom, group play and the home if the child is constantly fighting going to school and refusing to perform the desired actions to learn and appropriately interact with the others involved in the preschool education setting. This type of behavior and immaturity to be separated from the parents can also cause a great deal of distress and distraction for the parents as they feel guilty trying to ‘push’ the child into a setting the child does not wish to be part of.
Some different preschool experiences
The original preschool experience was designed to be just that. A half day, three days a week, PRE school experience for those four-year-olds who would be old enough to enter Kindergarten the following school year. The four-year-old preschool experience also serves to identify those four-year-olds who may not be ready for the Kindergarten setting the following year. In most states, the law allows for late entry into Kindergarten in these situations. The decision is left up to the discretion of the parent after conferencing with the preschool teacher and if needed, the school officials. An advantage to this decision making process is that the school officials have the resources to perform pre Kindergarten testing to help with the decision making process.
The original preschool for four year olds was designed to provide an advantage for those students who attended by instilling a more mature sensibility in the child and better working, listening and playing skills. There used to be some simple skills required for readiness into an approved Kindergarten program. These skills were often mastered through the preschool experience. Some of these skills were learning to be a good listener, not distracting or interrupting others, proper speaking mannerisms and word usage, complete potty training and basic hygiene skills. Being able to dress themselves, tie their shoes and recognize proper outerwear for inclement weather was also a ‘must’ for Kindergarten. Can you imagine a Kindergarten teacher with 25 five year-olds having to identify which articles of clothing should or should not be worn to school in certain weather or on certain days, activities permitting? Not only identification of their own outer wear, but being able to apply their coats, hats, boots, mittens and remove them after returning to the classroom is a requirement for kindergarten, all of which can be enhanced in a preschool setting.
As you read in the above paragraph, I specified the original preschool designations and requirements. In this century, things are much more advanced and the requirements for entering Kindergarten are much more sophisticated and demanding. Preschool teachers now have the task of teaching some reading skills, letters and phonetics, as well as some math skills just to ready the child for the math and reading required for Kindergarten children today.
Preschool for four-year-olds is usually a longer day and held on more days a week to ready the child for the full day of school which will be expected of him or her the following school year. Although, many preschools and even kindergartens provide naptime or rest time, and a snack to help with this transition into the fulltime five day a week school when First grade comes into the picture.
The advantages of attending a pre Kindergarten preschool are many. It instills a sense of maturity and growing up in the child who is usually looking forward to ‘big’ school by this age. The preschool itself is advantageous in what it teaches the child to ready them for Kindergarten. The play process is refined, the interaction with others of the same age is refined and skills are centered on what the child are good at and what they may excel in rather than just the overall play experience. Listening skills are demanded, as well as respect and good behavior.
The disadvantages of attending preschool education for four-year-olds may not be as devastating for the people involved, as these children are usually ready for school and proud to be attending. However, in the case of the immature child or a separation anxiety by the parent or child, it can be a great problem to the preschool teacher and the children trying to learn if the child is forced to go to the preschool and stay while being disruptive or behaving otherwise unsatisfactorily.
The only other disadvantage of attending any preschool education is financial. Unless the family qualifies for some free preschool program, the child will need to attend a private Preschool i.e. in a church, and they are costly and may pose a financial burden on the family. However, it is clear that some type of preschool education is necessary, while not yet legally required, for entrance and satisfactory performance in Kindergarten.
Preschool video from YouTube