Pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) is a wonderful program that helps young children prepare for the challenges that lie ahead of them when they being kindergarten. Kindergarten is now a full day requirement in classrooms across the United States. That wasn’t always the case and most students were able to easily fit into the classroom setting without feeling as though they don’t know as much as the other students. Considering the fact that kindergarten is now required and full time for all students, Pre-K would be strongly suggested for those that will be beginning Kindergarten the following year.
Pre-K is not available to all students. It is available to students who attend elementary schools at a place considered to have more disadvantaged children than other elementary schools in the same area. There are also Pre-K programs in some churches and daycares as well. However, there are many children who completely miss out on the Pre-K experience because their parents can’t afford private Pre-K and they aren’t in the right school district for their child to enter the program. It seems just a tad unfair to children who would benefit from the program.
Challenges faced by children who miss the Pre-K experience:
Acclimation- Children who attend Pre-K have the chance to become acclimated to the fact that they will attend full time school. Pre-K is a half-day experience that gives the children a chance to get used to the idea of school and to learn the joys of education rather than being thrown into a full day of kindergarten with no previous schooling. It is almost cruel to keep children from the experience of Pre-K for this reason alone.
Learning- Children who attend Pre-K are generally better prepared for the kindergarten experience. The kindergarten class today is equivalent to the first grade of twenty years ago. It is much more difficult for students to catch up to kindergarten level if they haven’t had the opportunity to attend Pre-K. You may not be able to imagine that children could learn that much in a Pre-K classroom, but they certainly can. If they miss out on that, they will be much further behind the other students when they begin kindergarten.
Interaction- Children who attend Pre-K will learn how to interact with other children in a classroom setting without the expectations of a full day of kindergarten. A child who is in a structured daycare setting has interaction with other children, but that isn’t quite like the classroom setting. Children quickly learn the rules of a classroom setting if they are placed in a Pre-K class.
These challenges can make it much more difficult for children to get into the swing of things when they begin kindergarten. It is important that parents take the necessary steps to get their children enrolled in Pre-K to avoid these problems. One of the biggest problems with enrolling children in Pre-K doesn’t land on the shoulders of the parents though. Most parents would more than willingly enroll their children in a Pre-K program if there was one available in their area. They might even consider enrolling them in a church or other program to help their child along the way. The problem lies in the fact that the school system has failed the smallest of the students in favor of how much money the parents make. It sends a message out to parents that their hard work hasn’t paid off for their children. The more money you make, even if it isn’t much, the less chance many children have of reaping the benefits of a Pre-K classroom.