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What happened to early childhood? - Page 2

post #21 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post




Because I looked at the picture of the preschool and there were all sorts of papers and posters about letters and spelling and numbers. "A is for Apple" type of thing. I wouldn't call that "forcing", but there is some kind of pressure if that is one of the main activities there. I would only offer that to a child (mine or anybody's) if they showed interest (for example, from books, which we read together every day).

 

And I think all kids should be able to direct their own learning to a large extent. Mine and others'.

 


Surrounding a child with literature, numbers, and shapes allows them to see these things as an option to be interested in.  It isn't something that is forced on them even if there are posters and word walls for kids to copy if they choose to.  My dd attended play-based preschool and they had a wide variety of activities to choose from that included number activities, literature based activities, and writing because the kids were interested in those things but they never forced the material on the kids and the material being there meant that they had a true choice not that they were being pressured  I think you may find more people who believe that letting kids see the alphabet, word walls, and posters of numbers is wrong if you post on the Waldorf board.  I don't personally understand how seeing something academic is pressuring a child but there are probably many posters on that board who feel the same way just as strongly as you do.

 

post #22 of 118

I don't really understand how a little one will be able to easily display their personal interest in numbers and letters if not exposed to them in a kid-friendly manner.m Then again, I don't see how a kid in the modern world could be insulated from the existence of numbers and letters either, even if it isn't in a kid-accessible format.

 

I learned from Sesame Street how to count to 12 in English and 10 in Spanish, and to use the word of the day in funny ways! learned to count to 100 and the letter of the day in Kindergarden (1987) and then would take my blocks and play with them to build houses that also counted and made words. I made paintings of trees and listened to stories in books. We learned to tie our shoes. I'm pretty sure letters, numbers, and Kindergarden did not strip away my childhood.

 

Would I like to send my kid to a kid-lead learning environment from birth to adulthood? Certainly! But sometimes they to be guided and exposed to ideas that never occurred to them first.

 

 

post #23 of 118

PJ i can relate a lot to what you 'didnt write'. in one of your emotional moments you wrote your thread and it came out all wrong.

 

you are talking on principle of encouraging letters and numbers and all the academic concepts. 

 

my dd was an early reader of alphabets, kinda early reader (she refused books but would try to read everything else but books), early math realisations. 

 

reading between your lines i completely agree with you. 

 

more so as i see the kind of shower gifts BABIES get. under one. everything is alphabets and numbers. even teething 'keys'. OMG the whole trend towards focusing more on academic stuff really makes my blood boil. 

 

esp. since my dd taught me an early lesson. it took me 3 months to teach her to point to her nose to show me she connects the word nose to her nose (new mom - caved under societal pressure). within 3 months she would ask me parts of the body and she learnt over 50 parts. never again did i 'teach' her again. 

 

i was lucky. dd went to a ps/dc as i worked. totally play based with academics entering in preK. they had fabulous arts and sensory projects. they did work on recognising names and numbers because the kids had to know their cubby. but basic K academic requirement happened about 3 months before K started. so they did do some. they definitely did more academics when they were 5 and missed the cutoff dates. 

 

to date dd remembers that time as the best time of her life. she made her closest friends there including her best buddy when they were 2 years old. sometimes we go years before seeing them again but when they do its like the years didnt exist. 

 

her ps/dc did not have alphabet/number posters on the walls. instead they encouraged science experiments and how to get along with buddies and of course art projects, geometric concepts like blocks, geoboards, iron on beads. they did a lot of concept type of thing. 

 

i was lucky that earlier on i could tell academically dd would not have problems with school.

 

but i can understand people encouraging their kids to do academics. i think perhaps in many cases parents had experience in what it felt like being behind and dont want their children to go thru the same. 

 

yes it does show about society - how focused we have become on academics. dd's reading didnt take off till she was 6. i have found in dd's school most of the kids do teh leap in reading at first or second grade and then some of those very children go into GATE. i am thinking some kind of growth spurt happens that leads to this leap in development.

 

i dont get 'graduation' either. thankfully dd's now school does not do it. but her previous school did at K and the other classes too. the ps had a graduation from ps to real school. i didnt much care for it either. even though it was more of a farewell as children separated to go to different schools. 

 

with dd's personality if i didnt have to do dc she would have definitely enjoyed ps. 

post #24 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post
I appreciate your friendly tone, thank you. smile.gif I feel like I'm getting bashed here in most of the rest of this thread, whoa. hide.gif

 

And it seems like nobody understood that I am not imposing a rigid idea on my child. I thought I was clear that my approach is child-led, and if my son is an academic genius and wants to read and write at age two (my mom claimed I wrote my name at age two, so hey...) then I will happily encourage that. I have nothing against a child doing academics at a young age if the impetus comes from within the child and is not put on them from the outside.

 

I guess I didn't make that clear.

 

You're not getting bashed. You're getting the same types of responses I would get if I came here and complained about seeing pictures of a Waldorf school on a FB friend page and offering up an opinion of all the things that were wrong with Waldorf. eg, "They don't have any letters on the wall! Back when I went to kindergarten, we learned letters. Kids should do things the same way I did. I don't understand how they expect their children to succeed if they won't expose them to letters."

 

And also, keep in mind that your friends might not have much of a choice of where to send their children to preschool/school. I live in a town of about 20,000. I have never heard of Waldorf except on these boards. I'm sure there are some Waldorf schools in the city about an hour from here but I couldn't drive my child an hour to school each day. We have one play based school and a Montessori (both of which are pretty pricey). There are a few church based preschools, which a lot of people would eliminate if they don't go to church. If you can't afford to pay much for preschool, you are left with head start or the public schools preschool, both of which, while they allow for plenty of play, do work on teaching the children letters and numbers. Sure, people could homeschool but in reality, that isn't going to work out for everyone. I think it is great that you have the option to send your child to the type of school you believe in, but remember that not everyone has such a choice.
 

 

post #25 of 118


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

 

What I don't like is that kids are pushed into and either explicitly or subtly expected to learn letters and numbers while they're still toddlers. This is a wild guess, but I would imagine far less than half of children under age four would express a natural urge to learn how to read and write and do math, if it weren't "taught" to them. 

 


I think this is an understandable belief from a first-time parent. Alyantavid has an excellent point about younger siblings who are exposed to letters and numbers simply because they have older brothers and sisters: 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post

You also pointed out that you actively avoid any books that might teach your child numbers.  Many kids want to learn things, all on their own.  My younger son wanted to do everything his brother did, even though we didn't force him to learn anything, so yeah at 2 and 3, he had his own little piece of paper and pencil and was writing everything his brother did.  Downfall of having more than one kid I guess.

 

 

 

My youngest sister, youngest of 5, is a great example of this. We all shared our toys, books and games with her. We played school with her. She was closest in age to my brother, who started kindergarten 2 years ahead of her. Every afternoon, he would come home and teach her what he learned that day - at her request. She ate it up. She desperately wanted to be like us. By the time she started kindergarten, she had finished the curriculum several times over. There was no parental pressure and no school authority pressure. It all arose naturally with the children. 

 

I've witnessed the same phenomenon of sibling teaching/learning with my own 2 children and many times in other families. If learning is okay within a family unit, I don't understand how it becomes objectionable in a non-family setting like a pre-school. 

OP, if you have a second child, I don't know how you could avoid exposing him/her to letters and numbers at an early age without actively discouraging siblings from sharing their toys, books and experiences. It will be awkward, send a poor message and set a bad example. If it's acceptable for the second or third or seventh child in a family to have access to these things, it seems that it should be okay for the firstborn too.  

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

Because I looked at the picture of the preschool and there were all sorts of papers and posters about letters and spelling and numbers. "A is for Apple" type of thing. I wouldn't call that "forcing", but there is some kind of pressure if that is one of the main activities there. I would only offer that to a child (mine or anybody's) if they showed interest (for example, from books, which we read together every day).

 


Well, I haven't been to Germany, so maybe it's different. I have traveled a lot of other places though, and everywhere I go (unless it's backwoods camping), it's impossible to avoid text. We live in a print-rich environment. Signage dominates the landscape. There are letters and numbers everywhere. In my experience, young children are very observant and pick out numbers and letters from road signs, shop signs, billboards, bus shelters, license plates, corporate cars and trucks, numbers on houses, store bags, clothing (t-shirt and sweatshirt designs), it's endless. Even when we go for hikes or to the beach, there is signage. This doesn't even address the print within our house. We have books, magazines, and newspapers lying about. Even our artwork has numbers and letters (I have a large framed print of a postage stamp on the wall). I find text is inescapable everywhere I go. 

 

I recall my niece as a toddler, recognizing the letter "S" on my school sweatshirt (from the letters of my school's name) and getting excited. Her parents had no idea where she learned "S". She was an observant child and somehow connected the letter and the sound. It opened a door to a new world for her and it was lovely to watch.

 

Simply having print on the walls is not "pressure". From past discussions about learning to read at MDC and elsewhere, it's my understanding that many advocates of delayed reading instruction (or no instruction at all), suggest most children will learn naturally to read if they are raised in a print-rich environment, such as I have described. It seems inconsistent and harsh to say that text on the walls in a preschool is some form of pressure, but it's just natural learning every else. 

 

post #26 of 118

There are worse things in the world than little kids being exposed to letters and numbers.  I wouldn't be so sure about the delaying or not providing your kid with exposure to academic or intellectual ideas (ie books, a la waldorf).  The impetus for everything a child experiences can't come from within.  It's part of being a parent to guide and introduce.  My kids wouldn't have had the impetus to ask to hear AA Milne read aloud to them as little ones.  We did it because I thought they would enjoy it, and they did.

post #27 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

It may be the terminology that is confusing, too.

"Kindergarten", as invented and practiced in Germany is, as a rule, strictly playbased pre-school/daycare with mixed-ages clasrooms from 3-6. Their schedule may be just halfdays, or may run from 7pm till 5pm, with play-pased preschool-style programming (songs and rhymes, arts and crafts) from 9 am till 12.30 or so, the rest being day-care style supervised play and care. The term "school" would never be used for these institutions - though a pullout program (which may be as rare as once every other week) for the 5-6 year-olds in their last year may be called "pre-school" ("Vorschule). You get more and less structured programs and the odd Montessori or Waldorf program, but apart from the Montessori programs, yes, sadly, the child will be actively discouraged from reading, even in the K year - that's for formal schooling starting in 1st grade (yes, that's probably stemming from strong Waldorf influences). After all, if the child can read, what would the school have left to teach in first grade, following a lockstep curriculum?

It's not ideal by a long shot - there are just as many assumptions and fixed ideas involved about what children at a certain age have to do (or have to want to be doing) as in the academic pre-school movement. It probably works for a majority though, but if your child ends up in the minority, beware....

 

 

FWIW, my daughter was in a preschool in Germany for some months.  It was a mixed-aged room with kids from 0-12 years old.  It actually looked a lot like a Montessori classroom with some more toys thrown in and stuff for older kids too.  There were TONS of books and most times when we dropped her off/picked her up they were reading to her.  They read to her A LOT there. She'll actually be returning for a month this winter and I don't think it will be a very big transition for her from her Montessori school. 

 

Most of my friends in Germany are pretty similar to my American friends and expose their kids to reading through books and play.  I only know one Waldorf family there and their kids are all grown.


ETA: One big difference, though, is that most German preschools and families that I know make a point to put English (or sometimes French) in the classrooms so I suppose there is some direct instruction in that sense. 

 

post #28 of 118

One does not have to "teach" a little kid to read. Simply reading to the kid, answering questions about it etc produces what is called "literacy rich enviroment".  My kids went to Emilio Reggio preshool. It is very hands on, very child lead but they also had books, numbers etc because this is what kids asked for.

 

I did not drill my kids with flashcards on reading on math. We went grocery shopping and I would point out to the label apple above the apples if they asked me what the label was for.  They counted peaches because it is fun. They played in the mud at home and came from preshool covered in paint and flour. at age 4 each of them started reading sign on stores out of the blue. Before  I could say "OMG" they started reading books.

 

You know what sucks and what scary? DOGMA. Any dogma. Babywise dogma, AP dogma, Budhist dogma or communist dogma. And assumptions. Not every preshool that displays letters is academic drilling hell. For some kids, reading early is part of their early childhood, for others, it is not.

 

There is no ONE RIGHT WAY.  There are some truly wrong things such as abuse, violence etc...everything is is just part of rich diverse way humanity raises offsprings.

 

 

My video game, TV watching kids meditate at our zen center, take care of cats, are amazing cooks,  avid opera and museum  goers. They eat everything from soba to blinis. They are very critical of commercials and can point out to you what marketing devices is use to create one ad or another in 5 seconds flat. Yes,  they spend a lot of time on the Internet too.

 

 

post #29 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post




Because I looked at the picture of the preschool and there were all sorts of papers and posters about letters and spelling and numbers. "A is for Apple" type of thing. I wouldn't call that "forcing", but there is some kind of pressure if that is one of the main activities there. I would only offer that to a child (mine or anybody's) if they showed interest (for example, from books, which we read together every day).

 

And I think all kids should be able to direct their own learning to a large extent. Mine and others'.

 


This is nonsensical.  How on earth can they show interest if they aren't exposed to it?  Your 4yo is not going to walk up to you and say "Mummy dear, I feel there is something missing in my life.  Some way to enumerate objects, so that I can tell you exactly how many fish sticks I would like for dinner without having to perform intricate charades.  Really, Mummy?  There is?  "Numbers," you say?  How fascinating!  I must learn more.  Now if only there were some way to communicate, silently, perhaps even across great distances." 

 

post #30 of 118

My experience is that kids are interested in what parents do. My DH and I love to read. We read a lot. So, it was not surprising that my kids were interested in letters and books.

post #31 of 118
I'm quite torn on this specific issue. One side of me, the book worm, who loves words, fonts, writing, wants to see DD learning to read asap. I also notice that yep, just like me, she loves letter, symbols, numbers. And I take her to Storytime and have board books as toys and yeah, she even watches "your baby can read". Is this bad? I think to myself... No, can't be... Babies minds are like super-powered sponges!

But then again, my sister tells me on the phone today that she heard kids have to know how to write their name before entering kindergarten! I was shocked by that! And competition seems unfair as well but not meant to be perceived as such, I'm sure.

Perhaps the earlier they are exposed to looking at the alphabet the easier it is for them to pick it up? I noticed my daughter liked looking at words so I would purposely direct her toward more. My sisters' kid? He could care less about books so she doesn't push it. I would hope the teachers in these programs recognize those sorts of differences with each kid and that would ease my mind about it.

I truly believe that if it wasn't looked down upon ( it feels this way to me where I live) to be a SAHM full-time, not put your child in daycare, then preschool, then maybe kids could be kids for longer. This just isn't reality for many families.
post #32 of 118
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post




This is nonsensical.  How on earth can they show interest if they aren't exposed to it?  Your 4yo is not going to walk up to you and say "Mummy dear, I feel there is something missing in my life.  Some way to enumerate objects, so that I can tell you exactly how many fish sticks I would like for dinner without having to perform intricate charades.  Really, Mummy?  There is?  "Numbers," you say?  How fascinating!  I must learn more.  Now if only there were some way to communicate, silently, perhaps even across great distances." 

 


As was mentioned in a PP, text and numbers are everywhere! It would be impossible not to get massive amounts of exposure. Thus my point is even stronger: three year olds see plenty of letters and numbers and through a natural day out and about, or even just at home, will get enough exposure. They don't need to have it intentionally put in front of them in a contrived way to learn it, they just will naturally.

 

I want to say thank you to the folks here who have been friendly. There were some good points made and as always, I too am learning. I am a human being, a relatively new mama, and I am not perfect. I am also someone who has opinions and not afraid to criticise our culture. So thank you if you got that.

 

Otherwise I would like to say it's not really necessary to get nasty. I know it can be easy to misread things online, but some of these replies have had a really snarky undertone. Maybe my OP was too harsh. Even if it was the meanest post ever made, I don't see how it makes the situation better to make an angry or sarcastic post in response. It is entirely possible to make your point, say you are upset by my post, and still be friendly about it. I have to say, the posts that were friendly I took in and said "Aha, that's a good point, I hadn't thought about that". The posts that were snippy I sort of glossed over and thought "Sheesh". Having a debate or disagreeing doesn't mean you have to get angry and act as if someone's a bad person because their opinion differs from your own.

 

Hey, I've had people make astonished comments that I am *gasp* still nursing my one year old. I've had people tell me how dangerous it is to sleep with my baby, or that I shouldn't go to him when he cries. I know how easy it is to take these kinds of things personally. But actually, when someone is critical of my parenting choices, it is not a personal attack on me, even though it may feel like it (hence my earlier statements about feeling "bashed" here). How someone else feels about breastfeeding, cosleeping, education or anything else is not about me, even though I may make those choices. And, even when I strongly disagree with someone (like all the parents who let their babies scream themselves to sleep), I try to remember we are all people here and all doing our best.

 

I understand that some people took this as a personal attack. It was not. I was making critical comments about our culture. I don't know if that makes me a judgemental, dogmatic fool or not, but if it does then so be it. In fact, when I saw those pictures on Facebook, I thought nothing whatsoever about the friends who posted them. It was the culture and children in general I was thinking about, not judging my friends that their kids are learning the alphabet in preschool. I'm sorry if anyone felt personally attacked, and I would ask you to perhaps take a step back and a deep breath before expressing anger in your posts. Again, you can just as well make your point (in fact better) without the bitter undertone. But then again, if it feels good to express your anger then go ahead. I just wanted to be clear that I am not really wanting to engage in that sort of debate. Friendly debate, sure. Angry debate, not for me.

 

And yes, it was reeeeeal dumb to post this here. I may make a new thread in the Waldorf forum, as I was actually looking for support because yes, I do still want to protect my son's early childhood from too much academic influence.

 

smile.gif

post #33 of 118

Having grown up in Germany and now in the US, I so get you comment. And my comment is probably going to be misunderstood as well. But here it goes. It is not about avoiding books, but putting letters on numbers on every single toy out there. Parents in Germany read to their kids, tell them stories, let them tell stories, they sing songs (about stories, and not about colors, shapes, letters and numbers). Kids can learn alot without needing to read!

 

Parents of 2 years in the US proudly tell me that there child knows her alphabet, or can count. Yes, they can recognize shapes and recite a song, but in 99% it does not mean anything to the child. I don't even get it when this is all taught on a play base. It is still time spent on something that I find unnecessary at such a young age. Here in the US, I know so many parents that train their kids and practice the alphabet every day for months and are worried when their 4 year old cannot read. These early years should be focused on social development and motor skills, which I find a lot of kids in the US are lacking. Kids cannot tie their shoes, or put on their jackets, they run around less, climb less.

 

I honestly loath this whole playbase learning thing in the US. Just because kids learn through play, they learn to interact, learn games, rules, they learn about the world, they discover and explore. But I don't get why someone has to sneak in numbers and letters or the names of the presidents.

 

Anyhow, I'll stop my rant here.

post #34 of 118

My children go to preschool/daycare (same center). I have a 4 and 2 year old. I love that they teach them things like days of the week ( they use circle time with a song, its cute), colors, numbers. They do art projects and have free play time and outside time, she loves learning in circle with her peers and by song. Sensory tables and they have a WATER SLIDE!!!! HOW COOL! They also take them really cool places on field trips and give hugs and love my kid, its pretty awesome there. No desks, no report cards or anything. My 2 year olds class is MUCH different. much more free play, very little concrete knowledge, reading arts and crafts, sensory play, and outside time twice a day. My point is, I get what you are saying and there are preschools out there that have competetive enrollment, applications, all that stuff and some put pressure on the kids to know more than they really need to. I just wanted to give you a different perspective. My almost 2 year old was not making any attempts at speech until she went to daycare. Now she is speaking in 2-3 word sentences. Its nice to be able to communicate with her. Preschool can be pretty awesome. I also think parents are in awe of how smart their toddler can actually be. If that makes sense. I dont think we expect them to learn that much and are amazed when they do.

post #35 of 118

My daughter just "graduated" Kindergarten. yes, she sat at a desk... sometimes. but so did i 23 years ago. they learned numbers, letters, phonics and began reading... but through games and crafts and songs. they had computer time (very necessary in this day and age) but also story time. they didnt receive awards but i agree that if everyone got one for their strong area it would be fine.

 

my son earned awards at his end of year ceremony (not graduation, 2nd to 3rd grade) but they were things that they had to work to earn and anyone could earn (outstanding in art, 100% AR reading... which the whole class managed this quarter, All S's on the report card, perfect attendance)

post #36 of 118

I was annoyed about the push to have my kids learning at a young age.It was difficult to just get my dd started in school at 6 instead of 5,and annoying that teachers still point out my child *should* be in 6th grade level work(when she is in 5th).The math and reading in preschool is inappropriate  when forced. If a kid wants to do it that is fine.I also find the graduation celebrations to be silly.I liked it when it was just for high school and college.

post #37 of 118

I see where the OP is coming from, we live in France, our children have been in the public school system, our dd entered into Maternelle (Kindergarten) at 4 years old, our ds 3 years old, we despair with the push in the system that the kids have to learn their ABCs and numbers from such an early age, the school reports etc - the numbers on the wall from 0-100 and how far each child can count, pushing the kids harder and harder to learn something that 'in that specific moment' they may not be interested in.  The average school day is 8.30am- 11.30am, 1.30pm-4.30pm, the 3 year olds sleep in a dormitory during the afternoon and the 4 + 5 yos work in the afternoon.  I agree that there seems to be less and less time for children to play and actually be children, the push to do homework every night, a child of 8 having at least 1 hours home work after leaving school at 4.30pm is unfair, children have the right to be kids and they often have to work harder than the average adult - especially as they grow older.

 

I understand that it is important to mark different phases and achievements but maybe finding a different way of marking that would be more rewarding to all, the graduation thing is really not something I would find easy to be part of - but then that's just me. 

 

Slightly OT but I wanted to mention this problem that we are encountering here in France, it would be interesting to know the differences between the German or USA school systems as well, but here in France there is a huge problem with the school system, in that there is still the old fashioned aspect that the more the academic the subject is the more intelligent the child is, art and music and other 'less academic' subjects are not regarded as worthwhile, therefore the self esteem of the child is low - something that concerns me more and more.

post #38 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by belltree View Post

I honestly loath this whole playbase learning thing in the US. Just because kids learn through play, they learn to interact, learn games, rules, they learn about the world, they discover and explore. But I don't get why someone has to sneak in numbers and letters or the names of the presidents.

yeahthat.gif i hate that with a vengeance too. worksheets in ABCs are bad but a toy with ABCs like the leapsters (i think that company has made money based on this principal though they get away by marking the age of the child to play with say a Leapster Explorer to begin at 4) really makes my blood boil.

 

its one thing to introduce academics to your child early - but its quite another thing to do it at the cost of other even more important skills. 

 

the problem is academics is becoming the center of focus for most parents of ps age kids. not the other things. even social interaction. they depend on the teachers to do that. a child knowing their abcs gets kudos from parents but that same child solving a conflict on the playground - is kinda ignored. 

 

now of course this is a sweeping generalization and i dont mean ALL parents are this way. but yes, yes, yes. this is the trend. 

 

and thus art is not looked upon as a necessary activity. 

 

i see it all around me and i am sad. the reason being from what i see on the playground, many parents are dropping their own traditional parenting to insist that their children learn to read. and many of these kids are being labelled in school as slow or below par because they answer that grass is green because they didnt use the word colour and so they dont know their colours. 

 

that is why i dont blame many parents who focus on academics because they have realised the only way their child is going to have a better lifestyle than them is to get an education. and thus education becomes a big priority. and if you start even at k at the wrong foot, its a struggle to catch up. 
 

 

post #39 of 118

My daughter just finished her first year in our public school's Pre-K program. She has not touched one worksheet. Yes, the alphabet and numbers are on the walls but that really means nothing to kids unless they are interested in it (it becomes part of the wallpaper.) Research doesn't support stuff like "Letter of the Week,) so their school (and my former schools) don't do it. DD played all day, inside and out.

 

My son just finished kindergarten. He rarely did worksheets there, either. He did learn to read, write, and do simple math. He LOVES it. He's ready to learn. He's not changed to a desk (group tables, really.) He did small group work with a teacher or assistant, played learning games on the Smart Board (and IPADs,) researched animals, learned to write how-tos, played in the sand table, in dramatic play, with blocks, puzzles, etc.

post #40 of 118
Thread Starter 

Whew! I'm glad to see people just simply sharing experiences, that's what I like to read here. All of our experiences are valid and I don;t want to argue about them.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by belltree View Post

Having grown up in Germany and now in the US, I so get you comment. And my comment is probably going to be misunderstood as well. But here it goes. It is not about avoiding books, but putting letters on numbers on every single toy out there. Parents in Germany read to their kids, tell them stories, let them tell stories, they sing songs (about stories, and not about colors, shapes, letters and numbers). Kids can learn alot without needing to read!

 

Parents of 2 years in the US proudly tell me that there child knows her alphabet, or can count. Yes, they can recognize shapes and recite a song, but in 99% it does not mean anything to the child. I don't even get it when this is all taught on a play base. It is still time spent on something that I find unnecessary at such a young age. Here in the US, I know so many parents that train their kids and practice the alphabet every day for months and are worried when their 4 year old cannot read. These early years should be focused on social development and motor skills, which I find a lot of kids in the US are lacking. Kids cannot tie their shoes, or put on their jackets, they run around less, climb less.

 

I honestly loath this whole playbase learning thing in the US. Just because kids learn through play, they learn to interact, learn games, rules, they learn about the world, they discover and explore. But I don't get why someone has to sneak in numbers and letters or the names of the presidents.

 

Anyhow, I'll stop my rant here.


Ya know, I was thinking earlier that this is also very much a cultural thing. Here in Germany getting outside and being physically active is very, very highly valued and pushed for young children. I am sure there might be some argument against that, but I see it as a good thing. My son LOVES being outside and we try to make sure he spends most of the day outside when the weather is nice. He is in daycare a couple days a week, and being outside is an essential part of their day, and they go out in ALL weather. Last year (before he was there, I was told this) they went out all but two days. In rain, in snow, in cold. And that is normal here. Hell, my in-laws will go out for a walk when it's windy and rainy while I refuse and hunker down inside. I used to think they were nuts, but now that I have my child I realize the wisdom in getting out and moving, no matter what. Very German indeed!


I know in the States there is sort of a "get kids back outside" movement going on, and I know many preschools and kindergartens are sure to get the kids out at least once a day....but I'm not sure how widespread that is. Here that's just the way it's done. There is definitely the push to get kids learning early too, and plenty of ABC 123 toys here, but from what I have seen that is not the norm and most people and preschools are not doing that.

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