Is Preschool Really Better Than Keeping Your Kids At Home?

Posted on: 5 December 2016

If you're fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home parent, you may still wonder if keeping your child home and out of preschool is the right thing to do. While there are pros to the "home-preschool" approach, you could be preventing your little one from having access to a host of advantages. Here are three reasons why sending your child to preschool, even if it's for just a few hours a day, will give them a leg up as they grow up.

School Preparedness

Sure, you can provide a highly structured environment for your child. And you should. But no matter how many rules you lay down or consequences you implement, nothing can really substitute how a preschool will model what a child experiences in elementary school.

They're engaged with other classmates, following a set of rules established by a teacher, and learning in an environment away from home. They will also have the experience of learning skills taught by different methods from teachers and assistants, using tools and instruments you may not have at home.

For instance, circle time is a popular activity at preschools, where children collectively sit and listen to the teacher as the teacher reads a book or tells a story. The teacher may call on individual students to sound out letters or ask each child to participate in other ways. They might have musical instruments that you don't have, allowing your child to learn a skill they otherwise wouldn't have access to. Many of them go on field trips to places that might be out of your reach. All of these activities give your child the opportunity to learn what to expect as they get older, better preparing them for elementary and secondary education.  

Academic Achievement

Every parent wants their child to succeed in school, go to college, and achieve great things in life. Many studies have been done that show attending preschool can greatly improve academic achievement, paving the way for success down the road.

One of the most recognized studies on this subject is the Abecedarian Project. This study began in the 1970s, and it included high-poverty children who were given access to a quality preschool program from birth all the way to five years of age. A second group of children were part of a control group and not offered the same program. Their progress was monitored throughout the years and into their thirties, and the results clearly indicate that the Abecedarian children benefited in a number of ways over the control group.

Their IQs were higher through the age of 15, math and reading achievement test scores were also better from elementary all through high school, and these children were much less likely to be held back a grade level or to be placed in special education classes. Not only that, but by the time they had reached thirty years of age, they were more likely to have a bachelor's degree and a job. Recent findings from 2014 even show better health among the Abecedarian children.

These results indicate a distinct advantage preschool children have over those who didn't attend.

Socialization Skills

Preschool allows children to not only make friends and socialize with their peers; it also gives them a setting in which to learn social skills that are vital to being a well adjusted person.

Children need to learn self-control, sharing, empathy, how to effectively communicate their desires and needs, and how negative behaviors affect other people. Of course you can teach and model these things, but in a preschool setting, your child is continuously exposed to teachers and other children outside your home. They will learn to grasp the concept that they can't have everything they want the minute they want it. They'll also have the opportunity to observe their peers' behavior, interpret their emotions, and learn empathy, one of the most important traits a child can learn.