From music to movement, swimming to art, and so much more — there are lots of enrichment programs available for preschoolers. There are so many options that it can be hard to know where to begin. The good news is that at this age, you can’t really go wrong. Give something a try, and if it’s not a good fit, that’s OK. Pick another one and try again!
Toddlers and Kids Under 5
This is a unique time of exploration and development in your child’s life that can have lifelong benefits. Take a swimming program, for example. Not only will your child have fun splashing in the water (hopefully), but they will also learn a potentially life-saving skill that they can enjoy for years to come.
There are also exceptional music programs available for children in this age group, such as Kindermusik. In many music classes, your child will sing, be introduced to different instruments, and also have an opportunity to move their body. If your child enjoys art, look into programs at art studios around town.
Many preschoolers will begin taking dance lessons or gymnastics, and discover a passion that they carry with them for years — possibly into high school or beyond. And let’s not forget the one-time classes that are often offered at libraries, museums, and parks departments, such as story time, nature walks, themed craft experiences, educational opportunities and more.
Searching for a Preschool Program
With nap times, schedules, work and life in general to consider, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start searching for a preschool enrichment program. As you begin your search, some things to consider are time, location, convenience, cost and what you are hoping your child will gain from this program.
You will want a program that works with your child’s schedule as well as the rest of your family’s schedule. A good way to start to narrow down your search is to know what time slot you are looking for and how far away the program is from home.
Another thing to consider is the duration and cost of the program. Some programs, like those offered at the library, may be one-time with no fee, while a swim class may be more of a lengthy, and expensive, commitment.
If teaching your child to swim is a goal right now, that may supersede some of the other activities. Or if your focus is to get your child to try something new and socialize with peers, then a group class focused on movement and play might be more of what you are looking for. Remember, you can always mix and match, too.
The Importance of Enrichment for Young Children
A child’s brain develops quickly. By age 3, the average child’s brain has reached about 75% of its adult weight, and by age 5, that goes up to 90%. Children take in the world around them and are at a unique time in life when they can learn a great deal. This is one of the many reasons enrichment programs are so beneficial for children this age — not only are they fun, but they are introducing kids to skills they can use for life.
The great thing about enrichment programs at this age is that you can try a lot of different things and start to see what your child might be drawn to. The time commitment for preschool programs usually is not too long. And if you are unsure about where to start or if the program will be a good fit, many places offer a trial class so you can see if your preschooler has interest before commiting to the entire class. Enrichment programs are also a great way for your child to begin to learn how to follow directions from other adults, and learn what it’s like to be in a classroom type setting before venturing off to preschool or kindergarten.
This is an exciting time in your child’s life and there are so many options to explore. Overall, enrichment programs offer your child a chance to try something new, socialize with peers, learn more about what their interests may be, and develop skills that they will carry with them for years to come.