Pre-school learning environments are specially designed to be age appropriate for young children, helping to support and boost their development and learning. Here we look at the ways in which pre-schools can help children learn.
Pre-schools are available to children under the age of five years old and offer a safe, supportive and inspiring environment in which children gain a foundation of early education. The pre-schools in the UK are run by qualified teachers, who are qualified in teaching this particular age group of children, as well as other trained staff who are all geared up to the needs of the early years.
Pre-schools have to be registered and are inspected regularly by government bodies, so you can be assured that the standards of learning are maintained. If they’re not, and you’re concerned about the pre-school your child is attending, then you can always find an alternative option and move your child if you wish. Most centres follow a government-approved early years curriculum, otherwise known as the Foundation Stage, and work to achieve the same Early Learning Goals for children.
Children participate in a wide range of learning activities whilst at pre-school. These include:
- Individual play, where they get to choose their own activity.
- Arts and crafts activities, such as painting, drawing, gluing and sticking things together.
- Simple model making – which helps children develop finer motor skills.
- Singing and musical activities.
- Playing with sand and water – which helps learn basic maths concepts and skills.
- Playing games and doing puzzles – which helps them learn problem solving skills.
- Imaginative and creative play.
- Reading, on a one-to-one and group basis, and sharing stories.
- Learning how to hold a pencil for writing, which is helpful for when they go to school.
Being in a pre-school environment and having a small schedule to keep to helps prepare children for when they go to school properly. There are also heaps of social benefits too, as they learn what it’s like to be with peers their own age and interact with them socially throughout each session. This includes vital experience with making friends, falling out and learning about different people’s viewpoints, all of which help the social and emotional learning experience.
Long-Term Learning Benefits
Attending pre-school and experiencing early learning can have long-term benefits. Studies have found, for example, that children who have a good basis of early learning before they start school are well prepared for the learning that’s ahead of them. In fact, one large government-funded study found that children who’d attended pre-school do better in education at the age of 10 and that those who’d experienced pre-school learning at home as well scored better in maths tests at the age of 10.
The results from this large government study were gained from following nearly 3000 children from the age of three years onwards. It was one of the biggest studies exploring the long-term impact of preschools and early childhood education and its findings have been largely acclaimed.