Is an Academic Preschool Right for Your Child? (page 2)
Some say academic preschoolers sacrifice social skills for math and reading skills. Others are convinced they gain an educational advantage. Find out if academic preschools are good for your kids.
What You Need to Know
John’s twin daughters may look exactly alike—but their personalities couldn’t be more different. Kyla loves to play and can’t seem to sit still for more than 10 minutes, while Brenda prefers quietly reading books to climbing the jungle gym. When the time came for preschool, John struggled to find a program that met the needs of both his daughters.
Experts have strong opinions about the benefits and disadvantages of both play-based and academic preschools. For example, while some believe that exposing young kids to overly academic environments stifles their creative growth, others believe that children need to learn more, earlier, to succeed in later years.
The good news is there’s no evidence that the scholastic environment is any better for preschoolers than the “fun place,” so parents like John can relax and make a decision based on their kids’ individual personalities.
For kids like Kyla, a play-based preschool would allow her more time to socialize and make friends, while slowly introducing her to learning and academics. On the flip side, an academic program, with more structure and less downtime, might work better for Brenda, who has endless questions about how things work and loves reciting her ABCs.
How You Can Help
As long as both programs offer a balance of play and learning, there’s really no right or wrong choice. So take a deep breath and go with your gut feeling. Here are some tips to help you decide what’s right for your little one:
- Look for clues about your child’s personality to help you determine whether she craves more education or more play time. Does she gravitate to flash cards and brain-building toys? Or would she rather play dress-up with her friends? These clues can help you make the best choice.
- Take your child to visit different preschools and spend time observing. This can help you determine which classroom environment she’s most comfortable in.
- Some preschools allow kids to “test-try” the center before you enroll to see if your child will fit in. Take advantage of this opportunity if it’s available.
- Make sure the school you choose doesn’t abandon play in favor of academics or vice versa. While focusing on one or the other is common, it’s important for young children to have both learning and play time.
For more information about academic and play-based preschools, check out the full article:
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List