Fair   66.0F  |  Forecast »

Answers To Your Top Preschool Questions

How much does preschool cost? When should my child start an early childhood program? You've got questions and we've got answers!

(page 1 of 2)

Content brought to you by Excellent Schools Detroit

Think it's time for your child to go to preschool? Maybe you're not sure if your little one should go to preschool. And anyway, how much does it cost to send them to an early childhood program? For all of these questions, the local early ed experts have answers!

Q: Does preschool really matter?
A: Yes, yes and yes!

There are many benefits to sending children to an early childhood program before they enter kindergarten. Unfortunately, there are some common misconceptions about preschool that have prevented all parents from realizing this and ensuring their children are enrolled in a quality program.

"People commonly assume that it's just day care or babysitting, and really it's not," says Shawness Woods-Zende, a quality improvement consultant at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. She says that being in groups and socializing while in preschool "contributes to (a child's) brain development."

Another misconception? "That they play all day," Woods-Zende says. A quality preschool program includes early reading and math lessons, hands-on projects, field trips and more. Sure, some curricula, she says, are play-based, but that doesn't mean that there isn't learning going on. In fact, Woods-Zende calls it "active learning."

"(It's) putting together experiences so the children can actively engage with those things," she explains. "So for them, it's playing. But when you have a classroom that's well put together, there's a method behind that." Stacking blocks, for example, might be a lesson in colors, spatial relations or counting, she adds.

Preschool affords kids much more in the way of preparedness for life, too.

"It will build language, social skills, emotional skills – they'll learn so many things that they need that will help them in kindergarten," Woods-Zende says.

Plus, she notes, "Even if they don't come into kindergarten knowing how to read or knowing how to write, the things that they've learned in an early childhood environment will now help them to quickly adapt and pick those things up."

Q: When is my child ready for preschool?
A: The earlier, the better.

While it can often depend on the family, the child and their needs, many early childhood experts recommend early is the way to go when it comes to preschool education.

According to Denise Smith, vice president for early learning at Excellent Schools Detroit, "a lot of parents are hesitant when their children are babies" to send their kids to an early childhood program.

However, "By the age of 3, a baby's brain has reached almost 90 percent of its adult size," according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway report "Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development." It notes, "The growth in each region of the brain largely depends on receiving stimulation, which spurs activity in that region. This stimulation provides the foundation for learning."

In addition, preschool programs help develop a child's social and emotional capacity.

"When children are around others they learn to share," Smith says. They also learn to self-regulate, which means kids learn thoughtfulness about their actions – and patience. 

Woods-Zende says the earlier kids are in an early learning program, "the better." They will be used to the class environment when they move up to kindergarten, know how to socialize with others – and there's a benefit for parents.

"It gives you a chance to look around and see what's out there, see what's available, talk to other parents, see where their children are going," she says. "And it just gives you an opportunity to see, 'OK, this is where I want to go' instead of waiting until they're 4 and saying, 'Oh, they're going to be in kindergarten next year, I want to get them ready.'"

And while attending a pre-K program is not necessarily required for kindergarten, "They're ready," Toni Hartke, director of Wayne County Great Start Collaborative, says.

"The children can learn those things. So why wait to have them be exposed?" she says. "They are more apt to be successful, then, when they get to kindergarten."

Hartke continues, "We don't want to keep seeing so many children getting to kindergarten who had no exposure to anything and then they're flunking kindergarten – being held back in kindergarten." Plus, Hartke notes it's also not good to have "children passed forward who aren't 'getting it' – and then they're going to be behind forever."

She says that as long as kids are in a program at age 3 or 4, "You're good."

Kids can attend Head Start, the federally funded preschool program, starting at age 3. Michigan's Great Start Readiness preschool program requires kids to be 4 years old by Nov. 1 of the school year.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Float Baby 'Spa' Offers Relaxing Pool Paradise for Babies

Float Baby 'Spa' Offers Relaxing Pool Paradise for Babies

Infants chill in calm waters, literally, at a Houston business complete with gentle massage for wee ones. Is it over-the-top pampering or actually beneficial?

Bacon Recipes for Every Meal

Bacon Recipes for Every Meal

From Kraft's bacon breakfast cupcakes to bacon-wrapped meatloaf, there are tons of ways to incorporate bacon into everything from breakfast to dessert. Try one of these recipes in honor of...

Back-to-School Lunch Notes Craft Project

Back-to-School Lunch Notes Craft Project

Add an extra dash of love to your child's midday meal away from home with a customized little letter, complete with a top-class loose-leaf paper spin.

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

Three moms of severely sick children want to change Florida law to treat their kids with cannabis. Opponents worry about lack of research and possible dangers.

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Ever considered purchasing eyeglasses on the Internet for your child? A local optometrist offers insight into the process – and what to be cautious of.

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

A mom and dad team from Troy, Michigan teamed up to create wholesome, delicious cookies that teach kids state capitals, language, presidents and more.

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Want to add a layer of fancy, not to mention healthy, to your kids' next snack or after-dinner dessert? Try these three recipes from the Birmingham restaurant.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement