EARLY YEARS: Quality preschool is vital for kids to be ready for kindergarten
Research shows 85 percent of brain development occurs before the age of five. That's why finding the right preschool program is crucial, as your child gets closer to entering kindergarten.
Vivien McMahan is the director of Early Learning Strategies for the United Way of Roanoke Valley.
The agency works with preschools and child care centers around the region to help them get kids ready for kindergarten.
Studies show not every child is ready to take that step.
"We know that right now, 40 percent of children are entering kindergarten without the necessary skills, which are social and emotional development, numeracy and literacy. That we need to do a better job. We're working hard to help insure that teachers are better preparing those children," says McMahan.
The United Way works with close to 150 schools in our region.
Age four, and even age three is old enough to start preparing for school.
"They're ready to learn how to be friends with people and how to go into a setting where they're learning from outside of their own family unit," McMahan says.
There's also a checklist parents should consider while searching for a preschool.
"They should definitely be looking for the quality interactions between teachers and children. That's going to be the most important. We know as pretty as classroom can look, where children learn best is when they have the best relationships with their teachers."
for some help finding quality preschool programs.