Preschools provide children with the foundation for learning and social skills on which they will build their entire lives. As the benefits of early childhood education become clearer, more and more children are being enrolled in preschool and early childhood education programs. Many preschools offer summer programs and summer camp with games, music, arts and crafts, as well as review lessons.
What are the benefits of preschool?
Over the past twenty years, preschools for children in the age group 3-5 years have grown in popularity. Early childhood researchers have found that these are the “learning years” for children, when their intense curiosity and growing minds make it easy for them to learn. This is the age at which they can learn music, math, languages, social skills, the numbers and the alphabet. Early childhood education lays the foundation for the skills that will be used throughout the individual’s life.
At the present time, around five million children in the U.S. attend a prekindergarten program. About one out of three or 30% of the 3- and 4-year-olds in the country are enrolled in private preschools and childcare centers. Private preschools have several advantages over public programs. With smaller class sizes, trained teachers and special attention to arts programs, they offer a safe and comforting environment for children to learn and grow.
Private preschools offer kids personal attention
About a quarter of the schools in the country, or 24%, are private schools. They enroll 10% of the prekindergarten – 12 students in the country. In real numbers, that is 30,861 private schools with enrollments totaling 5.3 million PK-12 students. The large majority of private schools, about 80%, are religiously-affiliated.
Private schools are associated with higher academic standards and students from private schools typically perform better on standardized tests. This is in great part due to the fact that the student: teacher ratios are lower in private schools than in public schools. More than one third, or 36% of all private schools have student teacher ratios of 10:1 or lower. Only 10% of public schools have similar student:teacher ratios. This allows teachers to give students individual attention and guidance.
Plenty of fun and games
Private schools aren’t just about classes. There’s plenty of fun and games as well. Private schools have regular programs focused on athletics and wellness. This helps preschool kids stay more active than they would if they stayed at home instead. Only 20% of homes have a park or fitness center within a half-mile distance, making it harder for kids to get out and about, much less participate in organized sports.
Summer camp is the best part of preschool
Many private preschools also have summer programs, which are both fun and educational. While the focus is on games and sports, crafts and music, children also review the lessons covered in school. More than 11 million people – children and adults – attend summer camp each year across the country. And they love every moment of it.
The American Camp Association (ACA) reports that the majority of children, or 63% of them, who attend summer camp and learn new activities there, will continue to follow these activities even after they return from camp.
The early childhood years are in many ways the best years of a child’s life. There’s a reason why so many people have fond memories of their earliest teachers. Preschool and summer programs enrich your child’s life and set the course for a successful future.