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The Importance of Preschool

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: What is the main reason for sending a child to preschool? Is it for socialization? If so, what types of socialization would a preschool offer that a normal home environment can't?

A: In my opinion, socialization is the single greatest developmental benefit to be gained from a good preschool experience. There are many other emotional and intellectual benefits provided by a child-centered preschool program. I would add that a loving home will provide a child as fine an opportunity for growth as any preschool. The key difference in the home and preschool socialization experiences usually is the degree to which a child has the opportunity to interact with her peers. At home, because of any number of circumstances, a child may have little opportunity to play, learn, share, or otherwise interact with other children of similar ages. In a preschool that opportunity is built in every day. Let's not forget that long before preschools existed, kids played in neighborhoods with each other and their social growth flourished.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


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