Do you want to know whether early learning is the best choice for your child? If so, you’re not alone; many parents must make this choice, which can be a challenging and stressful one. Sending preschool-aged children out into the world can be difficult, and finding a high-quality early learning program can be challenging. Knowing which is the best option for your child might be difficult if you’re torn between spending as much time as you can at home with them before the busy school years begin and wanting to give them the best start possible. Still, you might be surprised to learn that early learning is much more than just a glorified daycare. There are many benefits to early learning, for children and parents. Here are just a few:
- Social and emotional development. Early learning helps children learn how to interact with other children and adults. They learn how to share, take turns, and resolve conflicts. They also learn how to follow directions and work cooperatively.
- Academic development. Early learning helps children develop their early literacy and math skills. They learn how to recognize letters and numbers, and they begin to learn how to read and write. They also learn basic math concepts, such as counting and adding.
- Language development. Early learning helps children expand their vocabulary and learn how to use language effectively. Kids discover how to express themselves clearly while practicing vital skills like listening attentively.
- Fine motor skills. Early learning helps children develop their fine motor skills, which they use to control their hands and fingers. They learn to use scissors, draw, and write in an environment that enriches little minds and supports growing bodies.
- Gross motor skills. Early learning helps children develop their gross motor skills, which they use to move their bodies in bigger ways. They learn how to run, jump, climb, and balance in a space where safety is paramount and skill gain is the ultimate goal.
- Early learning can also help children develop their self-confidence and self-esteem. When children learn that they can succeed, they learn to believe in themselves.
How Early Learning Helps Parents and Caregivers
Children aren’t the only ones who reap the benefits of participating in a high-quality early learning program. Parents benefit in many ways as well, like:
- Early learning can give parents a break. Let’s be honest; caring for a preschool-age child can be exhausting. Early learning can provide parents with a few hours to relax or get things done. A healthy caregiver is better suited to the task of parenting!
- Early learning can help parents learn more about their child’s development. Early learning teachers are trained to observe children and track their progress. They can share this information with parents, which can help parents understand their child’s development and needs.
- Early learning can help parents connect with other parents. Early learning can be a great way to meet other parents and make new friends. These networking opportunities can be especially helpful for parents new to the area or those with few other parents in their social group
Tips for Choosing an Early Learning Program.
Deciding whether early learning is right for your family is only half the battle; the other half is choosing the right program. Before enrolling your child in specific early learning, it’s a good idea to:
- Visit the program and observe the children. Checking out early learning and observing classes before enrolling your little one will give you a good idea of the environment and the offered activities.
- Talk to the teachers and administrators. Ask about their philosophy and their approach to teaching.
- Ask about the curriculum. Ensure the program offers the types of activities you’re looking for. No two children are identical, and choosing a curriculum suited to your child’s unique needs can make all the difference.
The Valley of the Sun YMCA offers Arizona families a wide range of programs, each of which is designed to meet the needs of all children, regardless of their background or abilities. We believe that all children deserve a high-quality early learning education and are committed to providing that education to our community.
If you’re interested in learning more about our early learning programs, contact the Valley of the Sun YMCA today!