I was recently asked to join other Early Childhood Education professionals at the Capac Library to address the question, "Is preschool right for your child?" I understand the struggles of parents in deciding when and where to begin their child on the road to learning outside of the home.
Apart from of the family's need for child care (most programs now include a preschool component of some kind), parents should be thoughtful in selecting a program that matches the goals they have for their offspring. Some wonder if their child is ready for preschool. More often, they, the parents, are not ready to let go of their "baby." By allowing them out into the world, they are giving them permission to grow up.
Most parents already know what they are looking for. A preschool that puts the child first should be optimal, with structure based on their developmental level. The intensity of the curriculum should parallel their abilities; expectations by the adults should reflect this. Three year olds and younger require a program that is full of nurturing support, so they can learn to be around other children and follow routines. Four year olds need an introduction to the skills they will need to prepare kindergarten.
In our eighth year at Zion Community Preschool (our teaching staff has more than 23 years of education and experience in the field), we continue to make that match with parents. We understand why and how children need to be nurtured before they can be ready to meet the instruction for preschool and kindergarten education set by the state of Michigan. Our use of the internationally renowned High/Scope Educational approach provides for the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of the children.
Our program offers a nurturing, Christian base (how God uses stories to show His love and teach us to take care of one another), and small class sizes, all for modest monthly rates. For more information call 395-2112.
We would like to thank Linda Aguinaga and the staff of the Capac Library for putting the question out there and for allowing us to respond.
Mary Gersten, Zion Community Preschool, Capac
September 19, 2007