Let me try not to bore you, but I did a mini-study once while working on my degree in Family Studies to understand the difference between two very similar ethnic groups in the United States, but with very different adult outcomes (I know, blah, blah, blah…what?). Hang with me! While they both had similar beginnings, they tended to have very different adult lives. One of these groups tended to have higher income earners while the other was at or below the poverty line much of the time. In my research, I found just one major difference in these two groups that could have caused this adult outcome: early childhood education.
What’s important is what appeared to be happening with these specific groups is that one of them valued structured early childhood education over less structure before Kindergarten, instead having aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends watch their young children while the parents went off to work for the day.
As a mom, I’m also aware of the choices we have when sending our kids to school. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m quite the stickler for finding the best option for my child, and with my first two, it took me more than a minute to make the leap into early childhood education. Like one of the groups, I preferred them to either be home with me or be with family while I worked.
The counselor-me worries most about my child’s emotional intelligence over academics. Social and emotional development is far more important at a young age because it helps a child learn to manage their environment including stress, friends, anxiety, and academics. The smartest and most well-rounded kids are able to manage their social and emotional environment first and foremost. And sure, all of us want our kids to just be happy no matter what, but if they can be stable, successful earners on top of that, why not give them the best chance? That’s early childhood education.
Parents have many choices when it comes to preschool education, but I have to take a moment to highlight The Children’s Courtyard. They are a program that engages children the way that helps them excel the most – through active, immersive, direct learning experiences. Kids become confident there because they use their hands, manage their play environment, use their imagination as they rifle through various materials and instruments. The children stay active but captivated while making choices and planning out their own daily activities. This gives the children confidence in their own problem-solving, thus paving the way for stronger academics as they age. It is a win-win.
5 Ways The Children’s Courtyard Excels:
- The Highscope Plan is an approach that is simple yet intentional about building critical thinking, self-confidence and problem-solving abilities. Allowing the child to plan out their own activity, implement their own plan, and then share the experience in a meaningful way is a unique but simple way to facilitate the emotional and social development of a child.
- Their programs are age-appropriate. Your child only receives the educational experience at their developmental level, and this is important for building self-confidence. Our children want to excel, grow and learn, and the early successes of being able to perform help them build self-esteem and confidence to do just that.
- Their programs are fun! You and your child get to choose from programs like yoga and Spanish. Why wouldn’t we want a well-rounded day for our child like learning a new language and relaxation and stretching?
- They focus on nutritious eating and physical fitness in their Grow Fit program. Honestly, nothing thrills me more as a counselor for families than seeing that they have healthy dietary choices because what you put into your body impacts what you get out of your body. It is really that simple. The Children’s Courtyard knows this.
- They embody a nurturing environment. It’s counterintuitive, I realize, to say what is most important in child education is not the academics, but instead the social, emotional and nurturing part of the center. But when children feel supported, loved and cared for, they excel academically, naturally. We just need to give them the space to grow.
I can’t say enough good things about The Children’s Courtyard, honestly. And now, right before big brothers and sisters head off to school, the younger ones can: