New Research Touts the Pluses of Preschool
The options are endless these days for parents wishing to get a jump start on their child’s learning and education all before actually starting kindergarten. There are formal playgroups, playdates, child development centers, Montessori-styled classrooms, and plain old preschool. How is a new parent to know what is the right fit and if schooling before kindergarten is even necessary?
A recent study published in Child Development magazine reveals that, yes, a dedicated preschool program prior to entering kindergarten can have important benefits.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education evaluated more than 450 Chicago-area students during a ten-year span. Students were divided into two groups – those who attended preschool and those who did not. Here’s what they found:
- Children who attended preschool had a quarter letter grade advantage throughout their entire schooling over others.
- Preschool graduates also exhibited short-term growth in vocabulary skills and long-term growth in math skills.
- Children attending preschool additionally had better impulse control and attention spans.
This new study was inspired by research first pioneered in “The Perry Preschool Project” from 1962 which similarly observed two groups of children either attending or not attending preschool. Even decades earlier it was evident that kids having participated in a preschool program were more successful later in areas such as graduation rates and greater job and financial stability.
Still, many first-time parents are unfamiliar with just what preschool entails and how it even differs from commonly confused PreK programs.
What are the differences between Preschool and PreK?
- Preschool is designed for younger children, typically ages 2 to 4 years and is mostly play-based learning.
- PreK is geared towards 4 to 5-year olds and starts preparing them for subjects introduced in kindergarten, such as reading, math, science, and social studies.
After a solid learning foundation gained in preschool, kids subsequently enrolled in a PreK program often go on to enter kindergarten with confidence from having worked on reading, writing, and math beforehand.
Since 1976, Kirby Hall School has been leaving a legacy of academic success in a loving, nurturing environment for children in PreK-4 through 12th grade. To learn more about Kirby Hall in Austin, Texas, or to schedule a tour, please visit us here.
(Adapted from KXAN-TV)