This evening I attended the policy talk given by Dr. Curran on estimating the relationships between preschool attendance and kindergarten science achievement. I found this discussion interesting as the talk of science and preschool together have never crossed my mind before, however according to Dr. Curran, starting science as early as preschool can have positive impacts on a student later on. My immediate thought was, yes, that does make sense- starting anything early will make one more prepared in the long run just like the saying “practice makes perfect”. Then I thought about my preschool and kindergarten experiences (yes, I still remember a solid amount) and I don’t even know if I knew what the subject of science even was. Actually, I specifically remember thinking during that time that third grade was when school really got difficult because we started using really big numbers in math and started to learn science! At that age if you mentioned science I thought of mixing potions and creating experiments. Dr. Curran pulled up a photo of almost exactly what I pictured when someone mentioned “science” at that age.
Although I was surprised to hear and see data showing that starting science at such a young age had major benefits, there was something mentioned that I could fully comprehend- the importance of attending preschool. Attending preschool has several benefits- it saves money and is during the prime time of a child’s brain development. While science may need to be brought up earlier than it is now, at least attending preschool is crucial for students as they enter kindergarten. I know that because of my parents’ major involvement in my early childhood academic development and consistent preschool attendance, I came into kindergarten knowing how to read. While that is not always the case, preschool introduces subjects that will be further explored in kindergarten, and having little experience prior to entering elementary school can set a student back significantly.
Although my preschool experience included more play-time than learning, and we still had nap time in kindergarten, the preparation is necessary for all children as nobody wants to start from behind. Not only is the material that is learned in preschool is important, but simply getting used to the set up of a classroom and developing social skills with peers and classmates. I’ve learned recently that the earlier grades have started to speed up learning techniques and start certain material earlier than before. “Kindergarten is the new first grade”- a phrase I have heard from professors and current first grade teachers. With this change in teaching, it is more important than ever that students come into kindergarten as prepared as possible.