Preschool education

Preschool education

Preschool education is the provision of education for children before the commencement of statutory education, usually between the ages of two and five, dependent on the jurisdiction. Preschool is also known as nursery school, day care or kindergarten (other than in the US, Canada, and Australia, where kindergarten is part of the statutory education system, preceding first grade, and in the UK, where the word "kindergarten" is not normally used).Fact|date=January 2008

Developmental areas

The areas of development which preschool education covers varies from country to country. However the following main 'themes' are represented in the majority of systems. [ [http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_5984.aspx The foundation stage: education for children aged 3 to 5] ] [ [http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/earlyyears/about/curriculum/framechildren3to5/downloadsections.asp A Curriculum Framework for Children 3 to 5] ]

* Personal, social and emotional development
* Communication, including talking and listening
* Knowledge and understanding of the world
* Creative and aesthetic development
* Physical development
* Mathematical awareness and development

Allowing preschool aged children to discover and explore freely within each of these areas of development is the foundation for developmental learning. While the NAEYC has made tremendous strides in publicizing and promoting the idea of developmentally appropriate practice, there is still much work to be done. It is widely recognized that although many preschool educators are aware of the guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice, putting this practice to work effectively in the classroom is more challenging. The NAEYC published that although 80% of Kindergarten classrooms claim to be developmentally appropriate, only 20% actually are.

Ages for and importance of preschool education

Preschool is generally considered appropriate for children between three and five years of age, between the toddler and school stages. During this stage of development, children learn and assimilate information rapidly, and express interest and fascination in each new discovery. These qualities make them prime candidates for education, although most are not ready for structured primary or elementary education.Fact|date=March 2007

Universal preschool is an international movement that has made access to preschool available to families in a similar way to compulsory elementary education. Various jurisdictions and advocates have differing priorities for access, availability and funding sources.

Methods of preschool education

Some preschools have adopted specialized methods of teaching, such as Montessori, Waldorf, High Scope, [ [http://www.highscope.org/ High Scope] ] The Creative Curriculum [ [http://www.teachingstrategies.com/ The Creative Curriculum] ] Reggio Emilia approach, Bank Street and various other pedagogies which contribute to the foundation of education.

In the United States most preschool advocates support the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Developmentally Appropriate Practices.

Day care

In the USA Child Care Centers provide a preschool curriculum and do not just "babysit". Daycare/childcare centers provide services to children whose parents work or go to school. Child Care Centers should have a preschool program built into their morning routine.Regulations for requirements that must be met to ensure licensing vary from state to state. Programs are designed to provide children with the best quality programs for an entire day. In 2006, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a non-profit organization, introduced an accreditation program for these centres, which measures the quality environment for early learners and requires that staff have degrees in early childhood education.

References

See also

* Child development
* Early childhood education
* Nursery school
* Universal preschool
* Comenius Foundation for Child Development


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