What Makes a Quality Preschool?

Posted on November 11, 2011

It might seem like preschool is all about naps and playtime, but the latest research shows that early classroom experiences can have a major impact on later learning and academic performance, especially when it comes to language.

David Dickinson, a professor of teaching and learning at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, reported in the journal Science that the quality and type of experiences in preschool can make a difference in how a child’s linguistic skills develop.

Specifically, when preschool teachers engage children more in interactive conversations that require the youngsters to think and respond creatively, they go on to develop a more advanced vocabulary by kindergarten, which in turn translates to stronger reading and expressive skills by fourth grade.

Previous studies have suggested that kids who go to preschool tend to do better academically, compared with children who go straight into kindergarten. Further, some studies have found that higher-quality preschool experiences are more likely to yield improved scholastic results than preschool settings where teachers aren’t engaging youngsters but merely babysitting them.

Author: Alice Park, TIME

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