Everyone has his or her own first day of kindergarten experiences. Some might have been more memorable while others still trying to forget. Mine was merely an observance and evaluation period. After I gave my mother a kiss goodbye, and placed my belongings in the cubbyhole I was ready to learn, but unfortunately the majority of the other students were not. Considering one can not get too accomplished over many loud high-pitched cries, I was forced to be patient and suffer silently from boredom. Preschool is a beneficial tool for children because they learn social skills and gain an appreciation at an early age for the education system.

The prefix "pre-" means before or prior to. Preschool education refers to the education of children prior to the first grade of elementary school (Melton 181). By the time kindergarten started I was already comfortable with the idea and concept. I was not only ready, but excited to go to school to learn and meet old and new friends. Rachel and Margaret Mcmillan (Boyer 47) first developed the nursery school system in England of 1911. They were first coordinated to serve the needs of the poor, and health, nutrition, and social services were provided with an educational program (Boyer 48).

Because preschools are subject to licensing regulations and because they have qualified teachers, they provide a valuable experience for each child beyond and baby-sitting service (Kranyik 91). The Grier 2 nursery-school movement began in the 19th century with the growth of the factory system. Mothers were often at work long hours at a time while younger children were left neglected. They were established so those mothers could leave their children in a safe place while they worked. Preschool is an option, but because of the state of the economy, it has forced both of the parents to seek full-time employment, they have no choice. With many children living in a single parent families, the custodial parent may have to work to support the family.

Parents who are professionals and want to stay in position as well as raise a family need child care while they are at work (Kranyik 91). The modern nursery school has changed the mold from when it was first introduced. It is centered more around education than daycare. After WWI many different universities set up laboratory preschools for research in child development and teacher education. It was found that the first years in a child's life are important in establishing healthy attitudes, a sense of values, intellectual interests, and physical skills as well as learning habits, and social behavior patterns (Boyer 49). Not only did these findings lead to an increase in the number of schools but also now there are over eight million enrolled between the ages of three and five (Boyer 47).

I believe that group work better introduces the material and leaves a lasting impression for most people. Preschool provides a place where children can meet new friends and learn to get along with other children on an individual basis, and group (Kranyik 92). Taking turns to do things, exchanging ideas, and Grier 3 learning to cooperate with others are important qualities. They are able to be in a safe environment rich in learning and play experiences, supervised by an adult. A preschool gives children endless opportunities to practice speaking.

Teachers involve them in storytelling, creative dramatics, and other experiences that will teach them new words and offer a chance to communicate with each other. Preschools are spacious enough to allow a lot of movement and play indoors and out. The teacher encourages children to be more independent of adults by providing them with choices. They are able to choose what they will do and for how long.

They are responsible for materials and their own behavior within the limits of the teacher. Children learn social, interaction, and manners in a preschool setting (Kranyik 91). The children enrolled in the program make new friends, develop language skills, learn to share and create imaginary worlds. They gain social confidence and develop a sense of right and wrong, increasing prospects for school success (Boyer 48). When asked what would "most improve" the school readiness of children, the second most popular suggestion kindergarten teachers made was "preschool education". One teacher said: "The most important step this country can take is to make sure each child is offered the opportunity for preschool".

Another said: "From my own experiences, it's clear that children who have had preschool come to kindergarten with better language skills, better motor capabilities, and a broad sense of knowledge (Boyer 49). Grier 4 We are at a point in this nation where most children will spend thousands of hours in preschool programs before they enter elementary school, and experience that will profoundly shape the quality of their education- and their lives. With this statement being true, I believe more institutions need to be developed. Government funding also should be involved like in the Head Start program if necessary, as well for the increased pay of teachers.

They provide responsibility for the children, yet do not make much more than minimum wage. Their job is a lot more demanding than serving hamburgers and fries. Head Start is a program that offered preschool to poor children. It was part of President Johnson's war on poverty that began in 1965. This federally supported program has provided preschool education primarily to disadvantaged three and four year olds. Today, about two thousand Head Start centers serve 548,000 children.

Their goal is to build self-esteem, provide good nutrition, and give every child the learning experiences needed to succeed in school. All eligible children, approximately 2/3 are still not able to get in the program due to limited space and money (Boyer 52). Preschool should not only be available to them but also to families who make too much to qualify, but do not make enough money to pay for it. I went to Head Start, but only because my mother lied on the forms. I also attended a Montessori school, another form of preschool.

They were founded by Maria Montessori in the early 1900's and introduced into the United States in 1912 and again in 1958 (Hainstock 98). Grier 5 She saw a need for reform in the educational system of her day and devoted herself to change it. Dr. Montessori observed characteristics of young children in order to be specifically designed to meet the basic needs of the child. The Montessori way offers a sensible, structured system that allows a child to develop at her own pace, using her own abilities, with the guidance of a trained Montessori directness and the use of specially designed Montessori materials.

At the heart of any system of early childhood education should be the child. She based her entire method on her observations and understanding of the child as he is, not as adults imagine he might or should be. Dr. Montessori then devised a total environment to help the child develop himself as a total human being. She saw the role of the teacher as one of directing activity rather than actually teaching, so she preferred to use the name "directness instead of "teacher". There are many differences between Montessori and traditional preschool but the basic idea stays the same.

Although preschools were mainly invented for the convenience of adults (Melton 182), the have evolved from sandboxes and finger painting to letter blocks and handwriting instructions. Everything is created for the advancement is actually benefiting the preschooler now and in the future even more so. Melton, David, How to Help Your Preschooler Learn. New York, NY: David McKay Company, Inc. 1976 Malloy, Terry, Montessori and Your Child. New York, NY: Schock en Books 1974 Kranyik, Margery A., Starting School.

New York, NY: Continuum 1982 Hainstock, Elizabeth, The Essential Montessori. New York, NY: Plume Printing 1986 Boyer, Ernest L., Ready to Learn. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation 1991.