Dr Stacey Fox of the Mitchell Institute says, “All of the evidence shows that two years of high-quality preschool is one of the best ways to amplify children’s learning and development”. The report Pre-school – Two years are better than one, stated that “It is time for Australia to pursue a national commitment to ensuring that all 3 year olds have access to high-quality early education by offering a second year of preschool.
This viewpoint is supported by the Federal Education Minister and the South Australian Premier, who both are looking at ways to invest in the additional year of preschool.
There have been many studies to see what the advantages of two years of pre-school are. Here are some of the findings –
- A High Quality Pre- Kindergarten program prepares children to take maximum advantage of their 4 year old Kindergarten year which concentrates on developing “School Ready Skills”. Younger children develop many skills through close association with their older peers.
- The Early Years Learning Framework, with its emphasis on learning through play, ensures that planned activities are age appropriate, and based on the individual interests and skill levels of the children.
- Preschool activities have an emphasis on the Social, Emotional Development of each child. Children learn best in a caring environment where these skills are encouraged. Children learn how to interact with others, to make friends, to take turns, to empathise, to resolve conflict constructively, and to identify and control their emotions. Children develop self- esteem, and belief in their own capabilities through practising self-help skills, and helping to care for the indoor and outdoor environment.
- Pre-school teachers are trained to identify, and to work with children who have additional needs. The earlier these needs are identified and planned for, the less children will fall behind peers at school.
- Through interacting with Early Childhood teachers, and participating in group times and programmed activities, language and cognitive skills are promoted. Kindergartens are language rich environments. Children are involved in discussions, answering questions, early literacy activities and letter recognition, stories and singing. New words are introduced through hands on science, maths, environmental awareness and creative activities.
- Children’s creativity and innovative thinking is enriched by art, craft, constructing, dress-ups, pretend play. The routine is flexible, and teachers value children’s spontaneous ideas for play. Mathematic and logic skills are developed through a wide range of activities such as using Montessori equipment, building with blocks, railway tracks, farm sets, sorting, ordering, comparing and fitting together.
- The Preschool environment is designed to develop motor skills and physical fitness. Children are encouraged to participate in activities which develop fine motor skills needed for writing. In the outdoor environment children can run, hop, skip, slide and swing, ride bikes, develop ball skills, dig in the sand and dirt, and construct with large blocks.
- Preschool teachers stimulate children’s curiosity and desireto learn and find out how things work. They encourage children to be creative, and to investigate and solve problems. They observe children’s interests, and plan activities to help them answer their own questions.
- Preschool is a safe, happy, friendly, nurturing environment, where children have fun. They have opportunities to make decisions and to try out their own ideas in a relaxed, supportive environment.
Visit your chosen Pre-school to ensure that you are confident that the educators will nurture your child and cater for his or her individual needs. Directors and educators will answer your questions and concerns, and explain the program, routines, and how they can partner with you to promote optimal outcomes for your child.