By Jasey Capron, Little Leaders Preschool Director at American Leadership Academy, Gilbert South PK-6
What’s the big deal with preschool? Why do we want to send our children to preschool? The answer is simple. They will be getting invaluable experiences that will help mold and grow their rapidly learning brains.
Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain develops before the age of 5? That is an insane amount of growth during those precious years. Preschool helps to nurture your child’s brain in a positive environment where teachers structure and design special activities and experiences to give their minds what they need for their future selves to function as a competent adult.
Check out First Things First's article "Brain Development" to learn more about relationship building from an early age, brain connections, and childhood experiences.
Instilling Lifelong Values
At American Leadership Academy’s Little Leaders Preschool, we are adding another layer to our student's childhood experiences and connections. We are teaching, guiding, and modeling the values: Respect, Accountability, Integrity, Service, and Excellence, or what we call our R.A.I.S.E. values to those developing brains. We know the importance of creating values in our society and our children, and we work to show and teach them how to become wonderful human beings.
There is much more to preschool than just academics. At preschool, we are helping the students gain fundamental social skills. These social skills include sitting and listening to one another, sharing materials, conflict resolution, compromise, self-regulation, responsibility, and accountability. These skills are essential because, without the ability to listen, or show self-regulation, students will not be able to function at their highest level in higher grade levels. All of these factors can cause a decline in their future academic and social experience - which is the last thing we want for our children.
How to Find the Right Preschool
There are so many great preschool options out there for new and growing families. Some are focused on social engagement, involving a lot of play and interaction versus academics. Others are mostly academic and have very little play involved. From all my years of teaching preschool, parents need to look for one that has the right balance between the two. You can’t have academic without social interaction. And if your child is getting the social experiences they need, you can teach them anything. At Little Leaders, we see the value in both.
We know that children need to explore with their senses to learn. We know that they need routines that are predictable each day that teach safety, independence, and confidence. We also know and understand that once we teach our students to listen and respect one another, they will be able to engage with our lessons fully. Just as students need to learn their ABC's and 123's, we also spend time showing our students tools to use for conflict resolution as well as self-regulation and many others. These are invaluable skills that can be applied throughout the rest of their life.
The Launchpad for a Lifetime of Learning
I love teaching preschool because it is a child’s very first experience with school. These years will define how they look at learning and growing. I want these critical years to be a positive one, helping students look forward to the next step in their academic journey, armed with the tools to help them on their way. When I say goodbye and send them off to Kindergarten, I always wonder, "What will the future hold for my students?" The possibilities are endless.
Enroll in ALA's Cherished Little Leaders Preschool Program
American Leadership Academy is excited to offer our Little Leaders Preschool program for 3-and-4-year-old children at select American Leadership Academy schools: Gilbert South (Riggs & Val Vista), Signal Butte (Signal Butte & Ocotillo) & Anthem South (Hunt Highway and Franklin Road). Learn more by visiting our website or by contacting us directly.