Studio 5’s Brooke Walker reports on five things you might not think to ask about.
Preschool. It’s a time of creative curiosity. A place where bright, busy minds can explore all the world has to offer. And according to Kathleen Jensen, owner of Newcastle Preschool in Draper, preschool is an opportunity to set the pace and attitude toward life learning.
“Preschool should be the most fun time kids have ever had in their life,” Jensen said. “We want them to be happy, to love school, and to not be intimidated.”
But it’s often parents who are intimidated at the responsibility of choosing a school and program best suited for their little student. While some of the considerations seem obvious – class size, location, and curriculum – Jensen says there are a few areas all new preschool parents should look into.
“Sometimes people forget that music isn’t just an extra activity for fun, but it’s an actual mode of learning,” Jensen said,
She says some of the same skills taught through music apply to more academically based subjects, such as math and reading.
“Some kids don’t want to tell you the ABC’s or count for your, but if you sing it, they’ll do it,” Jensen laughs.
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Next, Jensen advises parents to ask if the program fosters fine motor skills.
“By the time Kindergarten rolls around, it’s hard to re-teach basic motor skills such as holding a pencil,” she explains. “Preschool-aged kids don’t want to sit around practicing pencil holds for hours, but they can develop those same motor skills and muscles by stringing beads, squishing clay dough and painting.”
And just as important as academics, Jensen says not to overlook play time.
“Play is not just play,” she believes. “Play is way children learn – they learn how to interact with one another, they learn to be the leader, they learn to be the follower, and they learn to take all different kinds of materials and create their own story line.”
GO WITH YOUR GUT
But in the end, parent’s intuition trumps all.
“Go with your gut,” Jensen said. “Everybody knows what they are looking for. There are a lot of different philosophies with preschools. I don’t think the philosophy is as important as the overall feeling a parent gets.”
Our experienced panel of preschool teachers joined us on Studio 5 to answer some of your questions:
12257 S. 800 E.
Forever Fun Preschool
277 W. Burton Lane
1655 North 200 East