Does a Good Preschool Translate into Great Education and Success?

Exactly how important is preschool?  Seriously, does enrollment in a good preschool guarantee a great education?  Does it prepare the student to somehow take in and retain information better?  Will a quality preschool education guarantee a person a successful career?

Or is preschool just another status symbol in our “keeping up with the Jones” society?

Recently, parents in Houston camped out for three days all for a coveted spot in a preschool. 

One mother was quoted as saying “The statistics of the kids coming out of the school is well above average.”  What statistics?  How do they know it’s the benefit of the preschool and not some other education or outside experience the child had?

My children weren’t even one when someone asked me what preschools I had put them on waiting lists for.  My children couldn’t even talk, I hadn’t thought of preschools yet.  And waiting lists?  I thought those were something for college not preschool.

I was totally flabbergasted.  I was a new mom.  Did I really need to be thinking of preschool already?

To be honest, I don’t even remember if I attend preschool myself.  Did you?  Are we any better or worse for that experience or lack of it? 

Yes, I know times have changed and the education system is not like it was when I was a kid (which, for the record, wasn’t that long ago!).

Today, I went to an open house for a preschool for my children (they will be three by the time classes start in September).  I chose this preschool because it was recommended to me by a friend who had sent both of her children there.  Both of her children seem to be well adjusted, intelligent kids for 4 and 6 year olds.  The one who has started school seems to have made the transition with ease.  Does that make this a great preschool?  I don’t know.

My husband was unable to come with me because the kids were sick and beforehand we were discussing what I should look for and ask about?  The brochure covered the basics – costs, days of the week, hours, class size. 

Besides the basic safety questions, what else do I ask?  Is there one way of teaching numbers, colors and shapes that is so much better than another?  Isn’t the point of preschool to slowing introduce the concept of a classroom setting and to socialize with others that age? 

Besides price, safety and the quality of teachers, what makes one preschool better than another? 

In fact, do you really think that preschool can impact a child’s future education and career?

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7 Responses to Does a Good Preschool Translate into Great Education and Success?

  1. Diane says:

    I think preschool is great, and for the record I’m not against it. But I’m a grandma, so that means I’m not from the age of preschools for better educated kids. Look at all the great minds of great people in history, did they attend preschool? I think preschool is more structured and formal learning for a young child, but there is still a lot of learning that comes from outside of school. Without a strong family support and interaction, any amount of schooled education may creat an 4.0 student, but are they still well rounded? Family values are a great tool of education. Before one survives the world, one must learn to cope with a family. In other words, I firmly believe a lot can be learned from the family life at home. In past that’s been very possible, but today with career parents (two not one), preschool has taken the place of parent/teacher. And this is OK, remember that parenting is not based on the quantity of time with the child but the quality of time with the child.
    Once you have decided on a preschool, I believe a parent knows their child well enough to know what they are gaining from the school. And it’s OK to change school, if you feel it’s appropriate to do so. I believe a child will only do as well as a child decides he or she wants to do. And I believe that’s dependant on the encouragement (not pushing) from the parents. Some kids are destined to greatness, some are destined to success, and some are destined to do what they love to do, and we parents can’t decide for them, only give them the tools to learn.
    I also believe whatever you decide for your children will be great, because of the care and love and time you put into your decision.
    Best wishes to you and your little ones.

  2. Hi

    I just found your blog on Technorati, and decided to check it out.

    I used to be a Montessori preschool teacher, so this might seem biased, but if you can, do consider a Montessori education for him. From my experince, a Montesori preschool focuses on all round development of a child and not just one or two educational aspects.

    They should have hands on ways of learning numbers and alphabets through play and activities, not just charts on the wall and memorization methods.

    Ask if they teach numbers using counting bead bars, or stacking bars.

    What kind of games do they include for the kids, and do they touch on science at all?

    Do they have nature study experiments?

    Are the teachers trained in any kind of preschool education program?

    Do they teach independence skills – buttoning their coat and tying shoelaces?

    If a Montessori education isn’t possible, there are a lot of things that you can do to replicate the Montessori experience at home. And I agree with the poster above – the most privileged school is going to be of very limited use if you don’t encourage learning at home.

    Use simple techniques like index cards to teach words, – paste them around different objects around the house with the names written on the card.

    There are tons of techniques, too many to mention here! And yes, the biggest advantage of going to preschool is the socialization. But, they will be expected to learn their alphabet and their numbers by the time they leave preschool.

    Hope this helps.

  3. vacelts says:

    Preschool Mama, Thanks so much for the great advice. Do you have any books you might recommend for me to tackle some of these topics at home?

  4. TheDeeZone says:

    I have taught everything from preschool to high school. Yes, preschool can help lay the foundation for academic success. I think I wrote something about that on one of my blogs. However it is not the sole indicator of academic success. I agree with Dianne that family support is important. Providing opporunties to interact and explore the world around them is just as important as preschool. I think play based programs are much better than formal academic settings that force 3-4 to do tasks that they are not ready for. A couple of months ago I wrote about a trend to send otherwise normal preschoolers to weekly tuturing sessions.The purpose of these sessions was to teach them1st grade skills before entering kindergarten. This places undo pressure upon children and suppresses creativity. Spending time reading to the child would be far more benefical than tutoring.

    One of the most aspects of preschool is socialization. I once had a parent get upset with me because I gave their 2nd grader a 98 in computer class. The parent actually told the boy that he wouldn’t get into college unless he had perfect grades and that one 98 would ruin his future. This little guy was so stressed out and worried about failure that he sometimes just couldn’t function.

    Find a preschool that you are pleased with that treats your child with dignity and above all allows him to be a preschooler.

  5. vacelts says:

    TheDeeZone, thanks for the advice. I want my children to have the opportunity to be a child before they start real school.

  6. TheDeeZone says:

    Vacelts,

    Read, read, read and read to them some more. Provide blocks, buidling type toys, puzzles, art and writing materials. Talk to them and teach them how to do things. Cooking is a great way to teach math, reading and life skills. Take them to the musuem, libary and other places. Providing an environment reach with experiences is an important as preschool. If you check out my blog I have linked to some of the articles I have written for my work blog. Check out the writing page on my blog.

  7. TheDeeZone says:

    Opps.

    Providing an environment reach with experiences is an important as preschool.

    That should be rich not reach.

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