Did you know that preschool and kindergarten are not requirements? I was always aware of preschool not being a requirement , but was very surprised when I found out that kindergarten is not required in most states. After teaching kindergarten for the past few years and seeing the amount of tremendous academic growth that is made during that time I have a hard time understanding why it is not mandatory. 39 states currently require districts to offer kindergarten and only 17 of those states require the child to attend.
There are so many benefits to both preschool and kindergarten that are beyond academics.
Preschool can provide children with an early love of learning, it is also a great way for children to begin getting acclimated to going to school out of the home. Social emotional learning is also a major part of preschool. Children become more independent , learn how to make friends , learn to share, build community and problem solve. They participate in activities to help strengthen their motor skills , their cognitive skills and language development. Preschool also starts the emotional and academic transition that continues in kindergarten.
In kindergarten they start to become part of an organized curriculum . They are taught how to follow directions , and are exposed to school routines and expectations
Part of the purpose of kindergarten is to help children begin that transition to a structured environment of school. Children spend this first year in formal schooling learning to follow a schedule, listen to speakers, exploring ownership and responsibility while learning to work in groups. All of these things prepare them and strengthen the skills needed for the rest of their educational careers.