What is early preschool, and how can it help your child? Your family's future potential daycare center offers an early pre-k program, but you're not sure if this is the right type of class for your toddler. Take a look at what you need to know about this early childhood option, learning/development, and your toddler's first successful school experience.

How Old Are Early Preschoolers?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In general, preschoolers are children who are from three to five-years-old. This means early preschoolers are children under age three in most child care or school settings. The specific ages of an early pre-k or early learner class depends on the program and its age restrictions or guidelines. Some daycares may have a specific early preschool class for toddlers and children who are two to three years old. Other programs may include younger children under age two or older students up to age four.

Why Choose an Early Learning Experience for Your Child?

More specifically, what are the benefits of a formal early learning experience? An early pre-k program can help your young child to build a foundation that they'll use in preschool, kindergarten, and well beyond.

While the specific types of content and activities vary by program, most child care and preschool environments include early literacy, math, science, social studies, arts, and physical movement. Along with the cognitive and academic benefits of an early educational experience, preschool can also help the young child to build social and emotional skills.

What Is the Best Early Education Program for Your Child?

You want the best for your child, and that means finding the best early childhood education program. If this is your first experience with child care or early pre-k, look for:

  • Low adult to child ratios. A high number of students and a low number of teachers or educational assistants isn't ideal. The lower the adult to child ratio, the more individual attention and care your toddler will get.
  • Plenty of early literacy experiences. Does the classroom have a book nook, writing station, or literacy area? A high-quality program emphasizes literacy, books, and other related activities.
  • Teachers who encourage exploration. Children learn by doing. You should see children who are actively engaged in the learning process and exploring the environment (in a safe and supervised way).
  • A broad curriculum. The program's curriculum should include a variety of content or subject areas, ranging from basic academics to the arts.

Think about what's important to you and your family in an early learning program and create your own must-have list. Look for these points when you go on a school tour. You may not find a program that checks every box, but you should feel comfortable with the care level and the quality of instruction.

Contact a company like A Mother's Touch Child Development Center for additional information on finding the best daycare center for your child.