Preschool is the first step into formal education for most children. It’s an opportunity for growth, learning, and development. Preschool prepares children for kindergarten while providing social and emotional development. It prepares them for the classroom environment, learning about routines and listening skills. The preschool environment is structured while allowing children to make choices while taking care of themselves and others. “Preschool will set your child up for success in the following years of school. They will gain a strong educational base that will continue to support their social and educational learning in the years to come,” says Mindy Hoon, a former preschool teacher.
Ashley Wingerter’s son, Toby, has always been a huge momma’s boy. Ashley is a stay-at-home mom, and his attachment to her worsened due to the pandemic and being stuck in the house for so long. Knowing preschool would be a huge transition for Toby, Ashley began to talk and hype it up for a year prior. “When it came down to that first day, it was a tough one, to say the least.
I had to leave him screaming for me! I felt like the worst mom ever and broke down before even leaving the school,” says Ashley. Within 10 minutes of drop-off, she received photos from the teacher to show he was okay at preschool. For the first couple of months, Toby would cry at every drop-off. He would always be happy to tell what he learned at school that day and what snack was, but he also said he hated school and begged her not to make him go. Toby is an unbelievably shy kid. He wouldn’t talk to anybody or play with anybody. He wouldn’t play outside and just sat there. “Which of course made me so sad to think about, but I knew he just needed to get used to not having mom or dad or brothers right by him,” says Ashley. After a couple of months, the tears stopped, and he began to like preschool. “He admits now he is happy to go to school lol He has friends that he talks about from school and is especially excited for show-n-tell day when he gets to show his friends at school things he likes.”
Ashley has 3 other children that attended preschool. According to Ashley, “our oldest two (twins), who are 16 now, were a lot like Toby. They were shy and very attached to their mom. They did not want to go and relied on each other a lot. Preschool helped them to come out of their shells as well and get used to the fact other people in the world will love you and be there for you other than family. Our 10-year-old was the opposite and was so excited to go to school at 3. He, of course, was also a momma’s boy but has always been way more outgoing and energetic. School helped him to meet other kids to play with. He loved it and couldn’t wait to go every day.”
“Toby is a super sweet boy, very shy, quiet, and attached to his mom. When preschool began in the fall, he had difficulty separating from mom. He was emotional at drop-off time. He needed a lot of encouragement to leave the teachers side and was reluctant to interact with his peers. Now, he manages separation fine and willingly joins in centers with his fellow preschoolers. These accomplishments are a few of the many goals we focus on and provide exposure to in these formative early years. Providing Toby with positive interactions and experiences in preschool will help ensure success in kindergarten,” says Michele Rogers, director at Wonder Years Preschool.
In preschool, children learn multiple-step directions, adjust to life without parents, and be responsible for their belongings. Students participate in large group settings where they will learn to sit and listen and communicate what they just learned. Preschool also has a long-term impact on children’s future. Children who attend preschool are:
- Less likely to commit a felony.
- Less likely to drop out of high school
- Less likely to need government assistance.
- More likely to go to college, and thus more likely to earn more in a lifetime.
- More likely to own a house.
Every child in our community can access preschool regardless of income. Preschool tuition and transportation scholarships are available for students through Early Childhood Iowa Muscatine County (https://www.ecimc.org/). For more information on preschool in the Muscatine Community, please visit https://alignedimpactmuscatine.org/preschool/