The idea of preschool can be difficult, especially when your child still looks like a baby. Are you sending them off to school too soon? Is preschool really necessary when you could savor them at home for another year? The answers are no and yes, respectively. Starting preschool young actually has plenty of benefits for your child, and they don't end after preschool. You may not even know it, but your own preschool experience helped you long past preschool. These are just some of the ways that going to preschool affects you later in life — and five big reasons why your own child deserves that opportunity.
There are different things that might be holding you back from sending your child to preschool, like the schedule change, the emotional drop-offs, and the costs, to name a few. However, the positive aspects of preschool well outweigh the negative — and these benefits and positive aspects simply can't be recreated in your own home. Whether you're extremely pro-preschool or you're hesitant about the idea, just know that its benefits are proven, enduring, and a gift to your children. And if you have to re-read this article while you're crying after a hard drop-off, so be it.
1. You Get An Educational "Head Start"
It makes sense that preschool can effectively prepare a child for kindergarten, but it turns out, preschool can have educational benefits long past elementary and middle school. According to the HighScope Perry Preschool Study, children who attended preschool were 17 percent more likely to graduate from high school. That's huge. If you graduated from high school, you might just have your preschool experience to thank.
2. You Become Resilient
It's a big transition to go from staying home, under your parent's watchful eye, to joining a class full of other rambunctious preschoolers. Though this is one of the more daunting changes for a parent, it's one of the most beneficial for a child. Between receiving necessary discipline from a preschool teacher or skinning your knee from rough-housing, the group-setting of preschool taught you to be resilient and tough. That's a trait that has undoubtedly served you well.
3. You Have Improved Social Skills
You won't learn how to interact with others until you do it, day in and day out. In preschool, you learned how to share, play, and learn with others. Vicki Palmer, a career early childhood educator and founder of TicTacTeach.com, says that early socialization is key. "The earlier we do this, the better, as it helps children overcome shyness and gain self-confidence. If we leave this too long, we actually hinder their social development," Palmer told The Huffington Post. If you've always felt like being a social butterfly comes naturally to you, you might actually owe it all to your earliest school days.
4. You Become A Lifelong Learner
When you enter preschool, you're suddenly exposed to all new things. There are new crafts to do, new games to play, new experiences to be had — all of this "newness" is exciting to a child, and can get them hooked on learning and exploring... thus creating a lifelong curiosity and love for learning.
According to the Childventures, an early childhood education program, children who attend preschool, "acquire a long-term interest in learning different things, including playing music, dancing, singing, construction, cooking, etc."
5. It Helps You Make More Money
It's true. In a 25-year-long study of almost 1,400 public school students, researchers found that "former preschool students had higher educational levels, incomes, socioeconomic status, and rates of health insurance coverage." In other words, their involvement in preschool at the age of 3 or 4 had a positive effect on their financial situation 25 years later. Even if you can't bear the thought of dropping your 3-year-old off at preschool today, do it for their 28-year-old self.