Several early childhood education programs have flooded parents of preschool children over the last few years. Where once a parent had to choose between day care in hopes that their child would learn something educational in the midst, or a Montessori school that cost an arm and a leg to attend, parents now have the option of several less expensive, yet equally qualified programs.
Why Early Childhood Education Makes a Difference
With education standards increasing to meet the demands of a global learning community, every parent is looking to give their child the edge. Some do this through private instruction, extra classes once enrolled in school, and honors and advanced placement programs in the higher grade levels.
All of these things are good, but scientifically speaking, it is projected that children aged 2-5 absorb and retain more information at this age than at any other time in their life. It makes sense then that surveying the options for types of early childhood programs for your child is a wise choice.
Know the Different Types of Programs
Given the mass number of programs available, it is important that you do the needed research to find a program that is right you for your child. For every legitimate program, there are two scams designed to take your money while promising you amazing results. If you are wise and take careful time studying the different programs, you will be sure to find the program that is best for you.
You may want to start by knowing the different terms associated with and that define different types of early childhood programs. The most common types of early childhood programs that can fit most budgets are public preschool, private (religious-based) preschools, and Head Start programs.
Spend Time Researching the Options
For the average person, the most affordable option for early childhood programs are those in the public sector. Just because these programs are labeled “public” does not mean that they are less effective or less legitimate than the other types of programs; it just means that more research into the individual location will be necessary to ensure that your child is receiving a quality education-based program and is not just a participant in a glorified babysitting program.
Often times, you will have to search for a program longer in order to find the correct one for you, as many of these programs are state-funded and primarily aid low-income families first.
The next and most practical option when you looking for a certain type of early childhood program is to research your private and church-based schools. Private preschool is a little more expensive than government-funded public preschools, but you often find there are more options for programs tailored to your individual values and needs. Private preschools have accountability to you, the parent, because you are paying for an educational experience for your child. You have the same rights and privileges as a private elementary school or high school parent has. This ensures that your child is receiving what he needs. There are often more variations of classes offered including art, music, and in church-based programs, religious training.
When looking at a church-based program, do not be hindered by their label as a church. Many times, parents have success with these programs in ways they may not have otherwise. Church-based programs often employee highly experienced teachers and have a positive learning environment. If you want your child to receive basic religious education, this is a great way to get them started.
Head Start Programs
The last of the affordable types of early childhood programs involves a nationwide program known as Head Start. This program is a publicly-funded, federal based program designed for women who are pregnant and have children ranging in ages from birth to age three. This program accepts students based on need and socio-economic status, and provides parental training in addition to preschool education. If you meet the need-based requirements, then this is a great program for you and your child.