• Many parents often wonder about whether they should send their child to preschool or wait until the child is old enough and enroll him directly to kindergarten. There are conflicting opinions out there about enrolling a child in preschool as well as about waiting till kindergarten. However, at the end of the day what matters is that you do what is the best for your child. You need to decide based on what works for you.


    Here are a few reasons by Helene Goldnadel a life coach, why must consider enrolling your child in a preschool:


    • When children stay at home, it can be tough to keep them on a schedule. You might be able to set up an eating and napping routine, in other areas the child is free to do as he pleases. You might find it tough to make him learn alphabets, identify color, learn the numbers, etc. He might be more interested in playing with his toys. At preschool, the teachers make sure that children play and learn at the same time. Since the children see others their age doing the same thing, they are more likely to follow suite. Your child will be ready for kindergarten once he joins preschool. He will have a structured schedule for lots of learning, games, and fun.
    • Children learn to interact in a social environment when they join preschool. They get to play with other children and learn to express themselves in front of others. This is vital for their overall development since children are more likely to throw tantrums at home to get things their way. At their preschools, they have to wait for their turn to speak and express themselves well in front of their classmates and teachers to get attention.
    • No matter how much you teach your children at home, a preschool can prepare them better for kindergarten. At preschool, your children would have learnt how to make friends and how to play in a group. When he joins kindergarten, he will not feel out of place and straightaway go on to make friends and have a good time. Learning will also not feel like a chore since he is already used to a structured schedule.
    • Children learn to take care of themselves and be more independent when they join preschool. They also get to participate in extra-curricular activities and games with their friends. If you do not enroll your child in a preschool, even with plenty of play dates with other children, you will not be able to accomplish what the trained teachers and structured preschool schedule can for the overall development of your child.

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  • Long before your child is big enough to leaf through pages of a book or sit upright in front of a computer, he is already fit to learn - and learn he does. Toys that surround children make their own preschool.


    It is no secret that babies are attracted to bright colors and toddlers are fascinated with moving objects. Parents may observe their kids' eyes follow around a fallen cookie jar rolling on the kitchen floor or get attracted to medicine boxes and even specks of dirt on the floor they crawl on. This leads some parents to thinking that just about any toy would do. But parents can think again with the advent of the so-called educational toys.


    You might ask, "What makes a toy or any object for that matter educational?" Put in another way, what makes a shape sorter different from a plain rock or a piece of milk carton? Helene Goldnadel says the difference lies in how that toy promotes and enhances the developmental process in young children.


    With the knowledge of the normal stages of biological growth [hand-eye coordination, psychomotor skills among others], experts believe that even toys should come on a certain schedule. Toy manufacturers then spend careful effort to ensure that the design of the toy is fitted to the capabilities of its user at any given stage thus the addition of age range on toy packages. When you see the sign "Not for children below 3" know that this beyond ensuring that hazards related to small parts in certain toys are avoided. It also says that only children 3 or above can fully utilize and make the most of the qualities of the toy design and can thus interact properly with the toy to develop certain skills such as, in the case of a shape sorter, color/shape familiarization. The goal is to allow a child to discover his capabilities and enhance them. This is a progressive process and ideally ensures that toys do not get too boring for your child. Yes, children do outgrow certain toys.


    Seeing the instructional value of certain toys, one may then ask, "Who classifies toys as "educational"? Who decides the educational content or appropriateness of a certain toy for a certain age group? Independent groups of people from different backgrounds - scientists, educators, artists, librarians, parents and kids themselves make up toy evaluators. Organizations that employ evaluators choose them on the basis of their in-depth knowledge of toys coming from either a background on child development or involvement in the toy industry.


    Evaluation programs among them the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, periodically hand out toy awards. Certain toys bear the label "seal of approval". One may also find annual guides to highly-rated toys. Parents can make informed decisions on toys to purchase guided by reviews and ratings from toy experts who examine both the content of the toy or "curriculum value" as well as the skills they develop or "cognitive value". More than just the development of the five senses, toys are judged on the basis of how they stimulate the brain and cultivate social, interpersonal skills.


    In a nutshell, the basic thrust of educational toy manufacturers is that toys are teachers. Be it math, science, language or the imagination, educational toys are the best testaments that learning is definitely fun.


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