Many parents of young children have full time jobs, and need a safe and nurturing place for their children to remain during the day. While safety is the most important factor, more and more parents are realizing that children as young as six months old will benefit from an environment enriched by a qualified teacher specializing in early childhood education. In other words, more parents today are looking for more than daycare – they want preschool – also known as “early childhood education.”
An effective early childhood classroom looks a bit different than an elementary school classroom – and different from daycare. In an early childhood classroom, teachers incorporate learning into the play and socialization activities that take place.
One of the most effective methods of teacher-guided “play” is known as Montessori education, and is especially popular at the preschool level. In Montessori classrooms, teachers show young children how to work with toys known as “manipulatives”. The Montessori methodology is more fully described here.
The fact is that children are capable of much more than most adults realize. Language acquisition is just one area where extremely young children benefit greatly from an environment rich in conversation. Children also learn valuable socialization skills when exposed to other children at very young ages. This is especially true when the environment is created and guided by an experienced teacher. Children can also acquire a significant head start in other skills such as experimentation, analysis, reasoning, logic, and of course literacy, numeracy, and familiarity with colors, shapes, animals, and other things that are a part of our world.
Children who have been enrolled in quality preschools are more prepared for elementary school. Whether you are interested in a competitive private elementary school for your child, one of the most sought-after Magnet schools, or even your neighborhood public school, a good Montessori preschool experience is a great choice. And a choice your child will thoroughly enjoy!