What does a child learn in pre-school?

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kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pre-school (sometimes called pre-kindergarten or pre-K) is a combination of daytime childcare and early childhood education. Children may begin pre-school as young as three years, but more commonly at the age of four as preparation for entering kindergarten at five years. Pre-school helps children adjust to the environment outside of the home, learn to direct their attention for longer periods of time, develop social and fine motor skills, and begin learning some of the content they will encounter in primary school. Children in pre-school  might learn to sing the alphabet song, if their language has one, as well as counting. They may also learn to identify colors, shapes, animals, and natural phenomena like weather patterns. Pre-schools typically offer lessons in a "playtime" environment with group activities. Movement, singing, arts and crafts, and free play are also common in the curriculum.

Pre-school may be attended for a half day (in the morning or afternoon) or for a full day. As an example of how this time might be spent, a child may arrive at pre-school and sing a song, cut paper with safety scissors during craft time, have a snack, practice identifying shapes, make some animal sounds, ride a tricycle outside, and learn to wash their hands. Every pre-school differs a little bit in how they structure their schooling, but pre-school is generally intended to prepare a child mentally, socially, and physically for primary school.