Preschool, on the surface, is all about fun and games. Deeper analysis, however, would show that preschool is a venue where a child’s character development can get a leg up.
First Foray into Social Integration
For most children, it is in preschool where they experience their first constant social interaction with fellow children and with adults. Daycare creates a similar environment but with less consistency. Parents could stop bringing their kids to daycare anytime they want, after all. Preschool is structured. Children belong to a class and meet with their teachers and classmates on a daily basis.
This set-up introduces children to a different social dynamic outside their home. They learn that teachers are figures of authority and that classmates could become friends. How they respond to these dynamics is indicative of the kind of people they could grow up to be.
Preschool also has a curriculum, but it is usually play-based. This contributes to character development because it enables kids to develop their interests. Sunrise Preschools, an institution that has established multiple preschools in Arizona, agrees. It says that preschoolers learn a wide range of skills and character traits when they engage in activities that pique their interests and curiosity.
Reinforcement of Positive Behavior
In preschool, children get a star stamp when they answer questions correctly. They receive praise for saying, “Please,” or “Thank you.” They learn if they respect their teachers and show kindness to their classmates, they will receive a ribbon at the end of the month or year.
These simple methods to acknowledge and reinforce positive behavior are beneficial for a child’s character development. There is plenty of research that says rewarding positive behavior encourages children to repeat it and make it a habit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adds that rewards also boost children’s self-esteem, which in turn affects their disposition. Children who receive praise and rewards for positive behavior tend to be happy and eager to continue being a “good kid.”
Preschool sets the ball rolling for a child’s character formation. Encountering positive influences; learning the value of kindness and respect during play, and receiving rewards and praise for positive behavior are just some of the things that can have a positive impact on children’s character as adults.