5 reasons why you should send your child to preschool

Preschool is important for child development – after all, the kids do a lot more than play there. In preschool or daycare, kids are given important tools for later life

Many parents with children under three are faced with the question of whether or not to send their kids to preschool. Is it the right place for the child, or will it make him or her feel abandoned by mom and dad? It's often difficult for both parents and child to let go. In many countries such as the US and Germany, preschool is not mandatory. Nevertheless, many parents (90% of German parents for instance) choose to send their children to preschool. There are good reasons for this:

1. Learning social behavior

If the child has so far only been exposed to a close family environment, he or she must now learn to deal with an entirely new situation. There are typically 15-20 kids in each preschool group. Here, children learn to assimilate. Of course, fighting and conflict are normal and should be dealt with patiently and constructively. Often, this happens without intervention from the staff. Children in preschool develop a feeling for interacting with others and learn social behaviors. This experience complements the child's home life and promotes his or her emotional and intellectual development.

2. Promoting personality development

Every child has a set role in his or her family. This is important, as it gives children stability and security in their early years. However, it's just as important that they learn other roles and understand their place within a different social structure. Preschool offers these opportunities in a safe and supervised environment. In the one or two years that they typically attend preschool, children can become accustomed to and feel part of a new group and new people and further develop their interpersonal skills. Over time, they assume different roles, take on responsibility and build self-confidence. An important part of this is playtime, either spontaneous or guided.

3. Learning from and with one another

In preschool, children from different age groups are typically combined into one group. Each child has different talents and abilities; heritage, culture or religion may vary as well. These differences serve as important bases for learning. Children don't necessarily learn consciously but through observation, imitation and repetition. Thus, each child learns from his classmates and develops his own knowledge and abilities as well as social skills, which often generates positive emotions.

4. Targeted instruction and development of basic skills

In preschool, the teaching staff fosters your child's development in important areas. Perception, language, movement and coordination, thinking, emotion and empathy are developed through play. Trained educators promote learning and play behavior and utilize educational materials, picture books and designated play areas. Many preschool programs include field trips, such as to the zoo. Studies show that these types of activities are very important for fostering positive learning behavior and concentration ability.

5. Identifying special abilities and needs

Preschool is where special developmental abilities or deficiencies are first noticed. The teachers get to know each child well and are thus able to address his or her specific gifts, strengths and weaknesses. This also allows them to obtain professional help – where necessary – early on to ensure the child is well-equipped to start elementary school.

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