As you may know, enrichment programs like A Grade Ahead have been proven to produce very positive outcomes in students’ academic achievement. Enrichment academies are a great way for students to get a head start on school material and basic skills. That being said, parents may be wondering: how soon can I start my children in educational enrichment? The motives of enrichment programs may seem more obvious for older children, but what about young ones? How young is too young to begin an educational enrichment program?
When Can I Start My Child in an Enrichment Program?
… At the Age of Four Years Old!
A Grade Ahead encourages students as young as four years old to begin taking enrichment classes in order to best prepare for academic success. Of course no one expects these pre-kindergarten students to be learning complex Math and English yet, but they can begin to familiarize themselves with a classroom setting and schooling expectations. Sitting still in a 50-minute class (or any length of time) for the first time is a great way for kids to get ready for the routines and rigor of Kindergarten.
Additionally, enrolling in an enrichment program allows kids to learn a variety of skills that will certainly work to their advantage later:
- Social skills (i.e. listening, raising hand, and following directions)
- Fine motor skills (i.e. using scissors and coloring inside the lines)
- Academic skills (i.e. numbers, counting, alphabet, and spelling)
What’s the difference between enrichment and preschool?
You may be wondering, what is the difference between education enrichment programs like A Grade Ahead and traditional preschools? As a whole, there isn’t a drastic difference between the two, but the learning goals and environment of one may suit your child better than the other. Preschools help children who need to learn social skills. The majority of preschool time is spent playing with other children and learning to follow directions from teachers. The Pre-K enrichment program at A Grade Ahead still incorporates social learning, but because we offer smaller class sizes (no more than four students for Pre-K), teachers are able to focus on mental and behavioral growth, as well. In a traditional preschool classroom, it’s very difficult to maintain the attention of all students to teach lessons like counting and spelling, but in a small, controlled environment, students can receive lots of one-on-one assistance with little distraction.
Why is four years old the magic age?
Many psychological and child development studies show that this young age is one of the most crucial when trying to get a head start on academic success. For example, ASCD explains that “Children who attend a preschool program at age 4 are nine percentage points more likely to be school-ready than other children.” Building a foundation for school readiness in preschool years is a proven way to prepare children for the next twelve-plus years of education coming their way. In fact, studies have found that students participating in preschool or enrichment programs are more likely to get into college!
Please, just one thing at a time! I know it may seem way too early to be thinking about college, but it’s true that the preparation begins now. Inc.com explains, “For every one-point increase in children’s social competency scores in kindergarten, they were twice as likely to obtain college degrees.” Luckily, we’ve got your back. Enrichment programs like A Grade Ahead make school preparation experiences more personal and effective for young ones.
How do I know when my child is ready for enrichment?
We’ve told you a lot about four-year-olds in general, but what about your child? It’s not surprising that many four-year-olds are starting from a different place and skill-level. For that reason, some students may be more suited for enrichment programs at this age than others. At A Grade Ahead, we believe that young kids will be best served in enrichment classes if they come in with certain skills already in place:
- Students must be at least four years old. Psychological studies show that deep learning cannot occur in most children until this age.
- Students can take an assessment (which requires them to sit still for extended periods of time – around an hour). This assessment can give us a general idea of where your child stands with his or her skill sets and temperaments to determine whether enrichment will be helpful at this time.
- Students can hold a pencil. In order to engage in assessment and activities, students must be able to use writing utensils.
- Students are in the process of learning how to use the restroom independently. The further along, the better because teachers enjoy spending the majority of the class period in the classroom, rather than the restroom.
For more tips about preschool and kindergarten readiness, check out these AGA blog posts: preschool and kindergarten. We’ve also provided some age-appropriate games for your young ones: check them out! So, now that you’ve learned all about Pre-K enrichment programs, do you think your child can benefit? What concerns are holding you back?
Author: Morgan L., Curriculum Writer at A Grade Ahead
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