The time has come: you blinked, and now your little one is ready for an early learning center. How did this happen? While you’re busy hyperventilating, let’s try to put your mind at ease by talking about what you and your child can expect from a great pre-k program:
Learning through play.
Young children primarily learn through play, so don’t expect a hard-core academic program for your little one. A great early learning center will include play-focused learning in a variety of imaginative settings. Some examples include play domestic activities such as cooking, playing house, and cleaning). Dress-up and dramatic play, like playing with puppets. Sensory play, such as a sand and water table. And of course, creative arts. These kinds of interactive activities are very important for a young child’s development and socialization.
Expect lots and lots of reading at an early learning center! Students will have ample time to “read” independently, as well as plenty of group story times as a class. One of the most important aspects of language development for young children is being read to, so this will be a big part of an early learning center’s program structure.
Large and fine motor skills development.
An early learning center should provide carefully curated learning centers for the development of both large and fine motor skills. Large motor skills can be worked on with lots of physical activity, such as a playing with balls, climbing, crawling through tunnels, and working on balance. Fine motor skills will be sharpened with activities like stringing beads, assembling puzzles, or building towers with blocks or legos.
Ample time to play outside.
Time spent outdoors and away from screens is absolutely essential for early childhood development. A great pre-k program will ensure ample time for students to play outside, both in structured and unstructured settings. Many schools are including outdoor classroom space in their programs, making the outdoors an even more critical part of the day!
Early exposure to the sciences.
Science in an early learning center looks a bit different than microscopes and laboratories. It might include planting a garden, taking care of a class pet, examining leaves and rocks, or going on an outdoor bug hunt. Science for a young child looks like exploring the natural world. A early learning center will help nurture a sense of curiosity and a desire for exploration in your little one.
What are you looking for in an early learning center for your child?