Your child is at the age that it is time to begin making day care choices. Do you trust their care to a family member? Do you enroll them into child day care programs? Do you enroll them early into one of your local preschool options? Choosing child care is an important decision, one that could affect the rest of their academic and social life. Consider the following factors when choosing your child?s preschool options.
Choose an age you are comfortable with
Thinking about an age ahead of time, that you are comfortable with sending them to day care, can be helpful in the decision making process. Some children may be too young to enroll in preschool and may have to attend day care instead. If you are required to send your child to day care, do not feel like you are neglecting them. Almost one quarter (23.4%) of children under the age of five are in some form of organized child care arrangement, which includes day care centers, nurseries, and preschools.
Consider the social advantages of preschool
At the time, it might seem like a better idea to send your child to a trusted family member or friend. Here, they will receive individualized care and you can have control over the activities and attention they receive. However, many studies show that sending your child to a preschool or day care program actually has many advantages. Even though you may not have control over the specific day care activities, they will receive professional childcare and they will be exposed to other children. These interactions can improve and develop their social skills, which will help them to succeed in future academic programs.
Preschool options also improve academic skills
The structure and setup of preschool programs can also increase academic success. Children are exposed to academic lessons and environments early on and this can help them with the transition into kindergarten, and then elementary school. In a review of three separate studies, 80% of children who participated in preschool programs outperformed their peers who did not participate in high quality early care and education programs. You might feel more comfortable about the care your child receives at your parent?s house, but you are keeping them from important academic and social opportunities.
Affordable day care options
Many local preschool options have to charge parents. They are not state funded and need the payments to pay quality teachers. However, if you are on a strict educational budget, you will want to factor costs into your potential preschool. Fortunately, there are many affordable and high quality preschool programs available. Just because you are on a budget, does not mean that you have to sacrifice quality.
In fact, simply enrolling your child in a preschool program can give them a better start to life, despite the cost of the preschool program. Approximately 70% of at risk children were found to be more likely to be arrested for committing a violent crime if they did not get a quality preschool education. A lack of a preschool education can also contribute to lower high school graduation rates, lower college attendance, and increased criminal records.
Many parents are faced with the tough decision of choosing their young child?s day care options. With day care programs, preschool options, and local family members, the decision can be tough. Studies, however, show that enrolling your child in a preschool program can give them many advantages and can set them up for success, both academically and socially. Additionally, the lessons that are learned in preschool programs tend to stick with them and can result in decreased legal and academic troubles.