SENIORS4KIDS – Older Adult Involvement in High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Programs
High quality pre-K programs are a necessary part of children’s development and future success. In high quality pre-K programs, children are taught developmentally appropriate skills to ensure kindergarten readiness. Developing basic readiness skills is necessary part of children’s development and future success. Programs may differ by location and emphasis, but it is critical for all children to have the opportunity to attend programs that are high quality in order to prepare them for kindergarten. Children depend on older adults to teach them, share their experiences and learn with them. Engaging seniors in the preschool setting capitalizes on this great bond between the generations.
Why Quality Pre-K is Important
Two influential studies on the effects of intensive, high-quality early childhood programs have demonstrated that these programs benefit children academically and socially into adulthood. Children who attend high quality programs are less likely to be held back a grade, less likely to need special education, and more likely to graduate from high school. Additionally, children who have been in pre-K programs have higher earnings as adults and are less likely to become dependent on welfare or have altercations with law enforcement.1
What Constitutes a High Quality Pre-K Program
The National Institute of Early Education and Research has established criteria for what constitutes quality in a pre-K program:
- Well educated teachers with a four-year college degree.
- Assessment of school readiness skills in social and emotional development, approaches to learning, communication, cognitive development, physical health and well-being.
- Teachers and staff with opportunities for professional growth who are supervised and evaluated and compensated adequately.
- Positive and frequent interactions between teachers and children.
- Good communication among teachers and children, which includes listening to one another and teachers encouraging
children to use reasoning and problem solving.
- Daily opportunities for language and reasoning, science, math, block play, and expressive activities, such as art, drama and music.
- Focus on the whole child and family, which encourages active parent/caregiver involvement.
- Low child-staff ratios and small group sizes.
- Well-equipped facilities suited to the needs of preschool-age children, including sufficient toys, books and materials.
Reprinted with the permission of Generations United. © 2008 Generations United.
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