Early childhood education programs or preschools are structured play-based learning programs delivered by teachers qualified in childhood education. It focuses on bringing about developmental changes in children before they enter elementary school.
If you too are considering an early learning program for your little one, here’s what you need to look for:
If you are considering enrolling your kid in a preschool, the first thing you should pay attention to is the quality of teachers available. A teacher in a preschool or a learning centre isn’t just someone who watches over children. They are the mentors or a guardian teaching valuable lessons within that setting.
A good teacher should explain different activities being carried out and resources or tools available. For instance, building a tower out of blocks may seem like a play activity for an outsider, but it teaches the child about spatial reasoning, basic physics, etc. It’s a good idea to observe the activities performed by the kids and talk to a few teachers or the centre leader about a few of them.
A typical learning centre consists of an open floor with table chairs for kids. You should observe the setting and the furniture available. Are the table and chairs conducive to your little kiddo? Can they get on and off without support? Are the shelves with toys and tools low enough for children to reach out easily? Will the child be safe without being watched every second?
Look for rounded corners of the tables, chairs, shelves, general cleanliness, hygiene, etc. These are some of the answers you should look for when you observe the classroom.
Look for Materials Available
Every learning centre generally has toys, books, and other equipment to keep the child engaged. Pay attention to the kind of materials available. What learning materials do they have?
Materials such as building blocks, papers, colour pens, alphabets, numbers, etc are just the basic ones that every learning centre should have. All of these create a proper learning environment for the little ones.
Play is an integral part of all early childhood education programs. As they play, kids develop cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical skills they will need to take them into adulthood. Therefore, a play area is essential.
See if the centre has a designated play area or see the classroom has clear sightlines that allow the child to play independently without being watched over, yet being under the teachers’ eyes. Check out the collection of toys to see if they encourage group play, individual play, etc. A healthy play area should be a blend of both.
How does the centre keep track of the child’s progress? Several non-academic assessments measure social and emotional growth as well as academic preparedness of the child. Make sure you talk to the centre advisors before enrolling your child.
There is not a trace of doubt that early childhood education programs have a positive and lasting impact on the child’s learning and development. However, a major worry that plagues parents is how to find the best education program for their child.
Take time to investigate several schools, teaching methods, etc. You should be able to find what your child will be comfortable with.