Looking at a list called, "How to teach preschool at home," I noticed the most important lessons for preschoolers were not on the list!
The list included numbers, colors, shapes, abc's, and listening to instructions, and a few other things. Do we cover these topics at preschool? Well yes, but the most important lessons we teach deal with socialization. Learning to get along with others is a skill that has to be practiced.
We practice waiting for turns, sharing our ideas and listening to other children when they share their ideas. Learning from peers is very different from learning from adults. You will most likely let your child have the toy while another child will not. Maybe the other child will take a toy from your child. How do you learn to handle that situation when your parent is not there? Practicing these skills at preschool is a great place to start.
At preschool children learn how to stand up for themselves, how to comfort themselves, how to feel strong and independent. It can be messy and we often review the same lesson, be it sharing or kindness to others, over and over. These are the skills children need to practice before kindergarten.
Kindergarten teachers are great at teaching numbers, early math skills, letters, and reading. Working through social situations takes time and practice. That time is not always available to a kindergarten teacher. Children who are frustrated socially have a harder time in kindergarten and often for years after kindergarten.
Does this mean all children need to go to preschool? No, but making sure your child gets to play with many children and in various play situations (even ones that don't always go well) is arguably the most valuable learning time for your preschooler.