April 1, 2018 3:47 pm

Preschool a key opportunity for early learning, Calgary educator says

WATCH ABOVE: Rachael Walker from Silver Spring Preschool joins Global News Morning Calgary to talk about choosing the right preschool for your child and the benefits that can be gained from early education.

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It’s that time of year when parents have to decide whether to register their 3- or 4-year-olds in preschool.

Educators note there are many benefits of having your child attend preschool.

Silver Springs Preschool teacher Rachael Walker says preschool can be a child’s first opportunity to learn, to share and follow instructions. Parents often underestimate the power of kids experimenting through play, she explains.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of play,” she said.

“Play is serious learning. It’s a vehicle for kids to learn about social, emotional, cognitive skills and fine motor skills.”

READ MORE: Do children need preschool?

Walker says these skills can give children a head start in kindergarten and help them become more confident.

“Recent research shows the emotional, social, [and] cognitive skills are at the developmental peak in children under 5.”

It’s not necessary to choose a preschool that specializes in specific skills, Walker said.

“To specialize at an early age isn’t really vital,” she explained. “You are trying to get a general skill set.”

When choosing a preschool, parents should focus on helping their children be comfortable interacting with their peers within a social group, Walker suggests, noting that is a key part of ensuring young kids get used to the school setting for the first time.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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