Because Preschoolers Are Social Animals

Amy Rees
March 8, 2009

The reasons to adore the preschool years are innumerable. These little ones, with their minds on fire and their bounding bodies, never fail to amaze us. 

Sure, they confound us a bit too, but they always amaze -- and delight -- us. 

This month in Being Savvy we are going to explore their world from their perspective. Their social world. A preschooler's role in his family, her life as a classmate and playmate and a parent's role in their world too.  Friends, parties, preschool, playing, sharing.  Being different, being new, being alone, being in a group.  For preschoolers, as well as for their parents.

The back-to-school rituals of September trigger much of our thinking. Great preschools give your little darling the opportunity to create a real, robust role for herself outside home for the very first time.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children reminds us:  "For most young children, being a 'classmate' -- at child care, at a place of worship, or at school -- constitutes their first active participation in an ongoing social structure outside the family. The vision of community that these experiences provide can color a child's ideas and expectations about equity, cooperation, and citizenship for a lifetime."

Wait -- read that again! 

Heady stuff -- "equity, cooperation, citizenship for a lifetime" -- we knew this was big, but wow! No wonder so many wonderful preschools we know start their school year emphasizing kindness.  We thought they were painting and climbing, singing the alphabet and playing dress-up.  In fact, they are learning kindness.  

So, with that tall glass of perspective, we figured we'd best spend some time on the social lives of these preschoolers, in all the places where they unfold. 

From the Parents

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