After the age of 2 and up until the age of 8, a child goes through rapid development and growth. It is during this stage that the foundations for their language and communication skills, socio-emotional skills, motor skills, creativity, and cognitive and intellectual abilities are established. The early years are especially crucial for a childâs holistic development. To this end, it is very important to provide children with a conducive environment, one filled with various stimuli and plenty of guidance and support, in which they can learn. This means providing a quality preschool education which will help build the strong basis upon which future learning and success will rest.
Apart from the cognitive skills that can be developed, children aged 2 to 4 benefit greatly in learning social skills from the environment provided in a preschool setting. They learn how to interact with other children, to make friends and learn to distinguish between appropriate behaviour and inappropriate behaviour. Moreover, being in a social and interactive environment fosters faster learning as compared to when having to learn alone. Young children learn from experience. So, interacting with peers is an excellent opportunity for them to explore and learn. Children also learn how to follow instructions, a crucial skill that they will require later on, especially upon entering the formal school system.
Ages 2 to 4 is the Singapore preschool age, when children start learning to be independent. Going to a preschool gives them that added experience in building other trusted relationships apart from with their parents. They start learning how to take care of themselves much earlier than if they were to stay at home. In preschool, they will be expected to tidy their belongings, put toys away, wash their hands, and eat their food properly. These real-life experiences, doing things themselves, gives them invaluable lessons. While it can be argued that all of this can be learnt at home as well, a structured preschool educationâs biggest benefit is the structure. Trained preschool teachers know just what a young child needs to develop holistically and how to encourage and exploit their curiosity for their development.
In Singapore, with more and more parents able to spend less and less time with their young children due to work commitments, preschool becomes crucial because children need an invigorating environment in which to learn and develop to the best that they can.