What is the Best Option for Your Family?
Written by Ginger Ashby, Principal of Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center
Research is clear that students who can attend a high-quality program are more prepared for kindergarten. Finding the best option for your child takes time and research. Children gain a lot from attending preschool. Preschool provides exposure pre-academics like numbers, letters and shapes. But, most important, children learn how to socialize, get along with others, share, take turns and contribute to a group conversation. Every child should have some type of group experience before entering kindergarten. Gymnastics, dance, sports are great, but what preschool does that is not taught in those mentioned is teach kids how to be students. Your child needs to learn how to line up, travel in the hallway, raise his/her hand, take a turn, and share an adult’s attention. What’s more is the student learns they can be successful upon separation from their parent or caregiver.
The importance of giving kids some form of quality; early childhood education is so recognized that 39 states now have state funded preschool programs.
When it comes to preschool vs. childcare, every family has unique needs that they need to be addressed for the benefit of their child. Every child is unique and so is their development. Children’s programs are not one size fits all. In the first five years of life, the brain is constantly growing and developing; children are learning new things all the time. In fact, this is the time of a person’s life when the brain develops the most, which is why positive experiences are so important. These formative years are critical for every individual child meeting the milestones that they need to prosper. Parents know their children the best, and they know what their children need in order to thrive. It is up to the program, whether it be childcare or preschool, to provide just that.
The words “preschool” and “daycare” or “childcare” may be used interchangeably among parents, but this is actually incorrect. While both offer great advantages to children, it is important to understand the difference between preschool vs. childcare in order to make a choice that best suits the needs of your child. One of the most notable differences in the ages of the kids that attend either program. Childcare programs typically accept children in the age range of about 6 weeks and older, while preschool is typically for children ages 2-5 years of age. In a preschool program, learning pre-academic skills is the main objective, with the program focusing on the educational needs of the children in order to prepare them for development in the years that follow.
For the most part, childcare is about providing services to parents when they need it most — during the working hours of the day. It focuses much more on games and free play than a preschool does. Babies, toddlers, and children have a safe and secure place to go where they will receive daily necessities such as feeding, napping, and activities. Although people may not think kids are learning at childcare, they in fact are.
Every child deserves the best possible care, so it is expected that parents will have questions when they are considering preschool vs. childcare. Parents can rest assured that licensing is required for both preschool and childcare, so their children are being as well taken care of as possible no matter which program they choose. Staff are trained and qualified in order to deal with all the different situations that arise, and as any adult who has ever been in the presence of kids knows, no two days are alike!
Things to look for when choosing:
- 1.Is the facility clean and safe?
2.The classroom should have a variety of activities and play materials (reading area, art space, block corner, puzzle area, dramatic play and items on shelves at student level)
3.Students should be doing different things
4.Play—children should be learning through the planning and materials they have.
- -Cognitive skills (math and problem solving in a pretend donut shop)
-Physical Abilities (balancing blocks and running on playground)
-New vocabulary (like the words they need to make Leprechaun Stew)
-Social skills (playing together in a pretend flower shop)
-Literacy skills (Like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant)
-Play is simple and complex (symbolic, socio-dramatic, functional, and games with rules)
Kentucky All STARS is Kentucky’s expanded five-star quality rating and improvement system for type I, type II and certified family childcare homes.
A childcare provider’s KY All STARS rating can be viewed in the Public Child Care Search. Additional details such as physical address, ages served, CCAP acceptance and inspection/monitoring reports can be viewed.
The Public ChildCare Search, lists only providers certified or licensed through the Division of Child Care. You can also view inspection reports, hours of operation and Kentucky All STARS level.
Preschool provides opportunities for children to learn in ways that interest them, building a positive association with learning. The best preschool helps children develop a drive to learn that they will take with them throughout their time in school.
Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center will begin early registration March 23, 2022. We accept 3- and 4-year-old students based on income, need for specialized services, and on a tuition basis. Students must turn 3 or 4 years of age by August 1, 2022 to register for the 2022-2023 year. You may contact us at 270-854-0140 M- F from 7:30 to 3:30 for more information.
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