That tiny baby you held in your arms a few years ago is growing up. Once so helpless, your child now enjoys playing with other children and learning about the expanding world around her. It's time to start thinking about preschool! As you talk to friends or family about preschool and begin researching the various options out there, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are many different types of programs – preschool, childcare, pre-kindergarten and others. How do you possibly know which one is the best match for your child?
Preschool education in the United States has changed dramatically in the last twenty years with much emphasis on "school or kindergarten readiness." Often this terminology is used in the context of children's acquisition of skills or basic concepts such as letters or numbers, but which does not represent children's actual disposition for learning, the ability to fully engage in the school experience. No matter whether you choose to enroll your child in preschool, pre-kindergarten or childcare, or perhaps you choose to keep your child at home, you can promote her school success by providing experiences where your child will delight in learning. If you model a love of learning by reading daily and participating in rich responsive conversations with your child, she will innately recognize that learning is something to be cherished and that understanding will stay with her throughout her life.
If you decide to enroll your child in preschool, you will want to select a program that reflects your beliefs about learning. The Children's Museum Preschool, among others, promotes a disposition for learning by cultivating your child's natural curiosity. The early childhood educators at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis believe that productive play builds foundational and readiness skills. Play is how young children make sense of the world around them, cultivate their imaginations, negotiate with others, practice their oral language skills and develop the love of learning. At The Children's Museum Preschool, museum time is built into every class; and objects from the museum's vast collection are utilized in the classrooms to build connections with the museum.
As you look at your young child and begin to think about the prospect of enrolling her in a preschool program, please know that your child's first teachers will be partners with you as, together, we cultivate your child's delight in learning.