or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Academics for toddlers - WDYT?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Academics for toddlers - WDYT? - Page 2

post #21 of 31
I, personally, would not want my child to go to a preschool that did worksheets and things like that. Neither of my kids likes that style of learning and they are both highly resistant to being led wrt academics. They do a much better job of teaching themselves and figuring things out from living life. So for me, if I used preschool, I would want a non-academic preschool. I would want the emphasis to be on free play with high quality toys, outdoors play, songs and free art exploration (i.e. exploration of mediums). And they would all have to be voluntary activities because my kids are introverted and generally don't "do" group activities. Preschool would have been a bad fit for either, but academic preschool would have been a disaster.

We did have an alphabet book or two in our house prior to age 2, but it was mixed in with the kids' regular books. We didn't do Starfall, Leapfrog....actually, I tell a lie. My oldest used Noggin at age 2 (we couldn't keep him off the computer!). My youngest used the computer at age 2, but he only used Google Earth. We bought alphabet magnets after my oldest became highly interested in letters. I'm not really into early rote memorization and early instruction for kids. My kids have learned an insane amount of stuff just from exploring their environment, asking questions and living life. When/if they've wanted worksheets or something like that, they've basically asked. So I follow their cues.

It IS important to me that my kids become highly literate people who enjoy reading. For that end, we've read to them since they were babies, we've given them free access to their books on a low shelf since babyhood and we've modeled a love of books. Both my kids really love books. I think that a love of books is the perfect motivation for becoming highly literate. I've known many adults who had reading presented to them in a formal fashion at a young age and they quickly saw it as a chore, thereby loathing reading even in adulthood.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by polka hop View Post
Isn't it basically the same thing that used to be called "nursery school"? I disagree with the "either it's school or it's not" dichotomy; is there a better term for a situation in which children ages 2-5 get together, sans parents, to play for a couple hours at a time several days per week?
Babysitting, childcare, playgroup...
post #23 of 31
As a developmental psychologist, I think it's ideal for young children to have a rich environment and freedom to explore lots of things, including letters and numbers, but highly structured assignments are not appropriate.

EnviroKid has several alphabet books, which we treat just like all his other books. Dr. Seuss' ABC was his absolute favorite at 18-19 months, but we didn't assume that he was "learning his letters" from it; we figured it was just an appealing rhyme with illustrations. He soon began to recognize "O" and point it out in many contexts. More than a year later, "O" is still the only letter he reliably recognizes. That's fine.

His childcare center has many written words around: Objects are labeled with their names; storage bins are labeled with picture and words to show what is inside them; there are wall decorations like a circle of cats holding cans of paint that are labeled with the color names, a labeled diagram of the solar system, and wildlife posters with simple captions. Each group of toddlers and preschoolers has a carpet with alphabet border where they sit for circle time, and the cue to gather on the carpet is singing the alphabet song. There is some talk about what words start with a letter, about counting, etc., but no pressure for kids to recite these things.

I'd favor worksheets at this age only if they're optional, one of many activities kids can choose. It's fine if teachers honor the completion of worksheets by hanging them up the way they do artwork, but preschool kids should not be assigned worksheets.
post #24 of 31
*
post #25 of 31
I think surrounding children with the written word is crucial in order to promote literacy. So, our house is full of children's and adults' books and magazines. I read to my kids often. We talk about letters and words as we come across them in the real world. Ds knows "b" stands for baby, and he has just begun to notice that some words sound the same either at the beginning or end of a word.

But I would consider this all contextualized learning. It's important to create a sense of interest and fun around the written word as well as to point out its usefulness as a communication method. I think these early years are all about generating interest in and familiarity with reading. I don't have a "program" I use, and if any preschool was doing "worksheets" I would run away fast. I do think some kind of 3-dimensional letters, whether they be magnets or puzzle pieces, that kids can get their hands on and "feel" the shape of the letter are a good tool, but I would stay away from anything involving flash cards, workbooks and other rote-learning methods.

I am sending ds1 to Montessori preschool this year, where academics are part of the program, BUT the academics are taught in a child-friendly, hands-on way at an individual pace as the child's interest and skill level develops. For instance, fine motor skills are developed through practical-life activities (squeezing a dropper, cutting paper, etc.) that paves the way for writing but doesn't require mind-numbingly tracing lines on a piece of paper.

As for "educational" tv, I think it's all pretty much just marketing. Television is entertainment, and should be used sparingly. I mean, I like Sesame Street just fine, but it certainly isn't necessary for your child to learn things, and I consider that whole attitude that kids "need" to watch this stuff to be a prime example of how marketing hooks us. (MIL kept telling me to show Baby Einstein to ds so he could "learn about colors." Well, I learned about colors just fine from looking at the world around me, without having to watch a badly-produced, extremely boring film about it.)
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by polka hop
Isn't it basically the same thing that used to be called "nursery school"? I disagree with the "either it's school or it's not" dichotomy; is there a better term for a situation in which children ages 2-5 get together, sans parents, to play for a couple hours at a time several days per week?
In my home country it would be called playgroup or kindergarten, but in the US those terms seem to mean different things - funnily kindergarten in the US means school, at home kindergarten means NOT school. My husband and I think it's hilarious to refer to it as "school".

Quote:
Originally Posted by stormbride
I'm rambling. I wouldn't want to see my kids in preschool that used workbooks. Mind you, I've honestly always found the concept of "preschool" kind of weird. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I think of home as being the only "pre" schooling a child needs. Otherwise, it's either school or it's not..."preschool" just seems like a meaningless term to me.
You would have laughed at a site I found the other day while looking for activity ideas - a discussion of "unpreschooling" :
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tm2840 View Post
When we heard from her mom the second grader was just thrilled because she finally got to do worksheets!
Yeah - I don't know if I mentioned that about dd. Her cousin had this workbook for counting and stuff, and after seeing it once for about 2 minutes, dd wanted one. We got her a counting workbook and she sat down and did the whole thing in one sitting...and asked for another. She loves them. I think some kids see them kind of like some adults see crosswords or sudokus...just a fun game to play with letters and/or numbers.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
I've known many adults who had reading presented to them in a formal fashion at a young age and they quickly saw it as a chore, thereby loathing reading even in adulthood.
This. I was already reading when I started kindergarten, and reading has always been my favourite form of R&R. I almost started to loathe it in school. I had many classmates who didn't like to read - while I won't/can't blame the schools for that, I do think they're a factor. Reading shouldn't be a dreaded chore. I also hated when we were supposed to read chapter books one chapter at a time, then do worksheets for each chapter. I think it was so that we could answer questions about foreshadowing and such "honestly", but it really ruined the experience for me. I've been a book a day reader for most of my life, and it really threw me off when I had to keep putting the book down for a day between chapters. Usually, I didn't - I just finished it, and pretended I hadn't.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Yeah - I don't know if I mentioned that about dd. Her cousin had this workbook for counting and stuff, and after seeing it once for about 2 minutes, dd wanted one. We got her a counting workbook and she sat down and did the whole thing in one sitting...and asked for another. She loves them. I think some kids see them kind of like some adults see crosswords or sudokus...just a fun game to play with letters and/or numbers.
That's my son. We are flying across the country on Saturday and just picked up a bunch of word search and crossword books for the plane ride. He's sooo excited that I had to hide them!

I'm against pushing early academics .. hello, I sent him to Waldorf last year!!! But it needs to be acknowledged that some kids THRIVE in that fast paced, structured learning environment. My son is one of them, and being AP means I go with what is best for HIM. If it was up to me, he'd still be playing with playsilks in Waldorf K. But that's not what makes him thrive, so we found what did.
post #30 of 31
If I sent my kids to preschool, I definitely wouldn't want them doing worksheets. One of the big reasons I want to homeschool is to spare my kids from ever having to do worksheets, at any age. I guess I'd either want a preschool that was nothing but play or one that provided individualized, optional opportunities for kids to explore some "academic" stuff in a relaxed, non-boring way.

I don't think it's important for kids to learn anything about letters or numbers before they're 2, but I don't think there's any harm in it, either. (Assuming you're not boring them or putting too much pressure on them.) I started teaching my kids letters as 1 year olds, just because - well, why not? They'll need to know them eventually, and I don't see why it would be important to wait until they're older. It's not like taking 30 seconds now and then to point out a couple of letters is going to keep them from doing all the other stuff toddlers like to do. But I can't say I feel like it's super important, either. To me, it's sort of in the same category as learning what giraffes and elephants look like, or how to do the hand motions for "Itsy Bitsy Spider." It seems good for little kids to be exposed to a wide range of information, but no particular bit of knowledge is crucial when they're still preschoolers.
post #31 of 31
Secretly, I have always loved worksheets. At least math and logic ones. I treat them like puzzles or games, though.

DD1 has at various times been into word searches, crossword puzzles (she just liked filling in the boxes with letters), and workbooks. But she likes to choose which workbook pages to do, and she will tell me straight up if she doesn't like the directions. She refuses to trace numbers and letters (most of which she can write freehand), or do color by numbers, etc. I support her wholeheartedly - I really DON'T see the point of color by number, unless the kid is excited about what the finished product will look like if they follow the instructions. She says "I already know my colors and my numbers and I can tell it's a monkey, so why can't I color it any way I want?" LOL.

As for teaching kids stuff early, I guess it depends on what you mean by "teaching." I probably pointed out letters and numbers and colors to my kids when they were barely 1, not to get them "ahead of the curve" but just because I think learning is fun and part of everyday life. (A major reason why we are homeschooling them is to nurture that idea!) I have definitely done less of that with DD2, but somehow she still knows all the parts of her body as well as at least 8 or 9 colors. All without a worksheet.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Academics for toddlers - WDYT?