When it comes to your child, you always want what is best for them, including in their education. Many parents are confused over preschool and pre-kindergarten opportunities for their child. They may wonder what the difference is and if one is preferable to the other for their children nearing kindergarten age. Get to know some of the important facts about preschool and pre-kindergarten programs. Then, you can better decide if pre-kindergarten is the option you want for your child who is between 4 and 5 years old.
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Share Some Commonalities
One of the things to keep in mind is that preschool and pre-kindergarten programs do share some commonalities. They both strive to provide age-appropriate education in a variety of subjects to children. Both programs also offer play-based learning in many subjects so that children are actively participating in lessons.
An example of this play-based learning can be found in music. Children may be taught a song with a lesson in it like the ABCs or a numbers song. The children are then allowed to sing the song and play instruments like tambourines or maracas while singing the song. This engages them and allows them to play as they learn.
Preschool and pre-kindergarten programs also strive to provide positive social environments for children, allowing them to learn appropriate behaviors and relationships with adults and with other children their age. This socialization process is extremely important in early childhood.
Pre-Kindergarten Is For a Smaller Age Range
Preschool is a program that is designed for children as young as 2 years old and as old as 4 to 5 years old. Pre-kindergarten, on the other hand is specifically designed for children who are 4 or 5 years old. This means that when your child reaches 3 years old or so, you will want to begin thinking about which direction you would like to go. You could continue with standard preschool or move them into a pre-kindergarten program.
Pre-Kindergarten Is a Kindergarten Prep Program
Unlike preschool, which is more free-form, pre-kindergarten is quite structured. It is designed to prepare children for what is expected of them in kindergarten. This means it is more of a formal classroom than a preschool environment, and the academic side of things is more rigorous.
Children are still engaged in playtime and activities that meet their needs to move around and interact, but there are also more expectations. For example, pre-kindergarten classrooms may have worksheets and formal schoolwork in addition to play-based activities. Children will learn classroom behaviors that will lead them to success and ease the transition to a kindergarten classroom. This preparation in academics and in behavior will benefit your child for many years to come in school.
Now that you know more about preschool and pre-kindergarten programs, you can decide which educational option is right for your child approaching school age.