Being a student is a skill that children must practice. Young children generally struggle to sit still and follow instructions, but most preschool programs help children learn to follow these rules. Preschool also teaches children to raise their hands, follow a daily schedule and share the attention of a teacher. Preschool classrooms are often staffed with more aides and teacher's assistants than a kindergarten classroom, so children have more hands-on help to learn these lessons.
Although kindergarten should be enjoyable for children, there are dozens of lessons that kindergartners must learn before moving on to first grade. Students who aren't prepared for kindergarten sometimes struggle to adjust to a classroom environment and fall behind. Preschool prepares children for kindergarten in a variety of ways, from academically to socially.
A child who has only occasional play dates won't have a clue how to interact with her peers when she reaches kindergarten. Preschool teaches children to share and take turns. The group activities that happen in most preschool classrooms teach children to compromise and work with others. Preschoolers should also learn how to form friendships and how to be a considerate and respectful friend in return. If children begin kindergarten without learning these skills, they will struggle to make friends and connect with other students. These struggles can distract kindergartners from focusing on academic lessons.
For many children, separating from Mom and Dad for the first time is difficult at any age. Children who attend preschool get used to being away from home and may learn to be independent earlier. By the time they begin kindergarten, these children are more prepared to be away from home. Preschool also teaches children to do some things for themselves, such as completing art projects without adults watching over them and serving themselves food from a communal bowl at mealtime.
A school schedule can be grueling for children who are used to being at home or in daycare. Whether they attend full- or half-day kindergarten, students need to stay awake and engaged for hours at a time. Preschool helps children build stamina and adjust to a school schedule. Preschool programs should also help children build their motor skills through activities such as writing and building. These activities help children develop their coordination so they're ready to learn writing when they enter kindergarten.
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