Why do we even need to send a 2 year old to school?
We meet a lot of young parents with a common question - Why does my 2 year old need to go to a playgroup? We never went to a preschool, but turned out absolutely fine! So what's the need to pressure your little one and just follow the so called playgroup trend?
Being in the field of training and education for over a facade, here are a few practical reasons for sending your child out of the house for couple of hours.
1. Changing Times and the Pace!
When we say that we turned out fine without going to a preschool, we need to also think of the times we were kids. Most of us grew up in a joint family or if not, in a very close knit colony. Ask our parents about our toddler tantrums and "getting bored" syndrome. Most of them would say that your generation was not so high maintenance and we do not remember running behind you so much! Quite possibly the reason was that most of the times we were busy playing with the elder people in the family or our siblings and cousins or with the neighbor's house. We learnt most of our basic skills around others (including eating which is one of the biggest worries of today's moms).
With the times that we live in today, how many people do we have in our lives with whom our kids can engage in active and SAFE play? There are two issues here - lack of real people around and most importantly security of the child. Can you send your child to play even in your highly secured society park alone? Or even the neighbor's house? So, all the kid is left with is his/her mom, helpers or their favorite - SCREENS!
So, comparing every generation with the current one is comparing apples and oranges. Especially the pace at which times have been changing in the last decade, we are not even sure what kind of future world are we preparing our kids for!
2. Social Skills
As kids do not have enough people to interact with, development of social skills is the best challenge. We see a lot of kids already know A,B,C..,1,2,3.., colors and shapes by the age of 2! So why even send such a bright child to school? Preschool is not so much about teaching alphabets and numbers to kids. Especially in this age when most of the moms are well educated, they already train their kids in all these basics. If first teacher for a child is his/her mother, second in today's age is youtube! We generally find these kids extremely comfortable, confident in their homes, but meeting with strangers and even playing with other kids seems alien to them.
Preschool provides kids an opportunity to interact with kids similar to their age, play with them, fight with them, laugh, cry and experience and explore all emotions. Learning values like empathy, sharing, caring for others, teamwork, etc comes only through experience.
3. Channelizing their energy
Children have immense potential and energy which needs to be channelized in constructive play. A stay at home mom also has a lot of daily chores which keeps her busy throughout the day. Matching you energy with a toddler gets tiring for adults. Most of the times then kids end up getting hooked to screens (TV or phone). How cartoons affect the child's brain is a very important insight for parents. To know more, click here.
Kids love to spend time with other kids and learn much more in the process. Preschool provides this platform along with safety to the children.
4. Consistency and routine
In today's age, all the mothers are very well educated and are equipped to teach kids the basics of English language (A.B,C, reading, writing) and Math (counting, additions, etc). Then what's the need to send a child to preschool? If the mother is working, grandparents are also educated enough to teach kids. Some parents might be even better teachers than schools. So, why preschool?
There are three very simple and practical reasons to this -
1. Kids tend to get into their comfort zone especially with their moms. For example, observe the behavior of your child with his/her father without the child noticing you. Then walk in to the room. The child who was independently eating with his own hands will leave everything and would start wanting you to feed him and all the other tantrums. There is scientific reason to this. Kids let go of all their inhibitions with their moms as mom is their safe haven - which is a good sign too. To know more about this, click here.
2. However good the educator is, key to learning is consistency. Spending 2 hours of quality time with your child, reinforcing concepts in s structured way and providing various experiences to the child CONSISTENTLY everyday becomes a challenge for moms. As mentioned earlier, house chores and responsibilities will take over this structured time with your baby. A preschool provides this routine to the child and helps in learning.
3. Peer Learning - Kids learn faster by seeing other children around them. Many a times they may not participate in the class, but their observation is very strong and might display the learning while you are driving him to school or cuddling with him before sleep, etc.
5. 90% of the brain develops by the age of 6
Millions of neuron connections happen during the first 6 years of age. This number reduces drastically to just hundreds by the time we grow up. Our brain is in the most developmental stage in the early years. We learn all the basics of living during this time - eating, sleeping, talking, listening, walking, sitting - SURVIVING. Later years are more for polishing the basics. Research has shown that kids who have had disturbed early years are more susceptible to depression and even committing crimes. Happy early years build the foundation of a happy life and enhanced learning abilities.