My friends' kids in preschool seem pretty smart... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-16-2012, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Remind me why it's okay to not send DD1 (3) to preschool.  Her friends can write their names, know about gravity, sing songs together, can read phonetically...

 

I mean, I know that play is good, but it seems like her friends are really flourishing in preschool.  They must get so much more attention and structure than I am able to provide.  We're stuck at home a lot with a grouchy napping baby, so DD1 doesn't experience much of the "explore the world" and "play outside" elements of development.  She mostly plays by herself when baby is napping on me in the Ergo.  Sometimes, she just sits and stares at us until baby wakes up.  We do try to get out and do playgroups, storytime, and activities as much as possible, but it's seems like so much less quantity of education than kids in preschool.

Right now she's playing under a blanket with her stuffed animals, and it's pretty darn cute.

I just need some reassurance to not get competitive and not care about what other kids are doing.

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#2 of 15 Old 10-16-2012, 09:03 AM
 
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Two things:

 

Kids catch up.  

 

The kind of learning they do in preschool is not always comprehension, but memorization.  That's not across the board, of course, but often the case.

 

OK, three things:

 

Your daughter "knows" about gravity.  She just doesn't know what it's called, possibly.  Trust me, every baby on the planet has been curious about gravity and it's properties and they play with it constantly.

 

I have thought many times (and I have heard and read others with this same opinion) that at this young age, giving a concrete term or whatever (still caffeinating, sorry for the brain burp) might actually curtail curiosity instead of encourage it further.  It can be so hard to not step into a child's open-ended explorations, and give it names and terms and "concepts" without solicitation. Kids don't investigate things the way we adults do and I think that is a good thing.  

 

If you want to feel better when your baby naps, give your daughter a big book, with engaging pictures (any book, ones not written for kids her age can be the most engaging) or offer her a clipboard and pencil.

 

Cuddle with her.

 

If she still chooses to gaze at you, think in terms of what she is gaining from this experience that her preschool peers don't have as much opportunity for.  Obviously, your dd is curious (even if perhaps a bit frustrated?).  She is witnessing an act of great love, learning about family and empathy.  If she chooses to do this, then this is what she wants to do, and she is gaining something from it.  If she is a bit frustrated by having to wait, she is gaining a valuable lesson in waiting patiently for the good stuff she knows is coming.  She is learning about choices.

 

Four things:

 

Because you have baby with you, I hope you are enlisting her as your mother's helper (I mean "inviting", not "putting her to work").  Even if she unfolds every piece of clothing you fold, she is engaged with your work and helping.  Solicit her company, if you feel she is craving it.  If I knew she wanted more company than she is asking for, I would let her know what I will be doing and if she could keep me company and help out.  If I felt there wasn't an issue, I would not interrupt her play with an announcement, but exclaim mightily when she chooses to join me.

 

The comparisons can be so hard, but it seems harder when the feeling is relatively new.  It never entirely goes away, not for any parent in any situation, but what helps is seeing some nugget of proof to revitalize your faith in the path you are choosing.  (We might have faith in the power of whole foods and healthy eating, but a little bit of chocolate goes a long way to fulfilling the soul!  What you need is that little bit of chocolate--if you understand what the hell I mean by that!)  You'll get it.


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#3 of 15 Old 10-16-2012, 10:27 AM
 
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Quote:

Two things:

 

Kids catch up.  

 

The kind of learning they do in preschool is not always comprehension, but memorization.  That's not across the board, of course, but often the case.

 

OK, three things:

 

Your daughter "knows" about gravity.  She just doesn't know what it's called, possibly.  Trust me, every baby on the planet has been curious about gravity and it's properties and they play with it constantly.

 

I have thought many times (and I have heard and read others with this same opinion) that at this young age, giving a concrete term or whatever (still caffeinating, sorry for the brain burp) might actually curtail curiosity instead of encourage it further.  It can be so hard to not step into a child's open-ended explorations, and give it names and terms and "concepts" without solicitation. Kids don't investigate things the way we adults do and I think that is a good thing.  

 

If you want to feel better when your baby naps, give your daughter a big book, with engaging pictures (any book, ones not written for kids her age can be the most engaging) or offer her a clipboard and pencil.

 

Cuddle with her.

 

If she still chooses to gaze at you, think in terms of what she is gaining from this experience that her preschool peers don't have as much opportunity for.  Obviously, your dd is curious (even if perhaps a bit frustrated?).  She is witnessing an act of great love, learning about family and empathy.  If she chooses to do this, then this is what she wants to do, and she is gaining something from it.  If she is a bit frustrated by having to wait, she is gaining a valuable lesson in waiting patiently for the good stuff she knows is coming.  She is learning about choices.

 

Four things:

 

Because you have baby with you, I hope you are enlisting her as your mother's helper (I mean "inviting", not "putting her to work").  Even if she unfolds every piece of clothing you fold, she is engaged with your work and helping.  Solicit her company, if you feel she is craving it.  If I knew she wanted more company than she is asking for, I would let her know what I will be doing and if she could keep me company and help out.  If I felt there wasn't an issue, I would not interrupt her play with an announcement, but exclaim mightily when she chooses to join me.

 

The comparisons can be so hard, but it seems harder when the feeling is relatively new.  It never entirely goes away, not for any parent in any situation, but what helps is seeing some nugget of proof to revitalize your faith in the path you are choosing.  (We might have faith in the power of whole foods and healthy eating, but a little bit of chocolate goes a long way to fulfilling the soul!  What you need is that little bit of chocolate--if you understand what the hell I mean by that!)  You'll get it.

 

yeahthat.gif

 

 

 

 

 


: :Mama to 4 girls and Michael is here 9/11/09 We love :::
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#4 of 15 Old 10-16-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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I completely agree with SweetSilver!

 

My 3.5 year old is in preschool.  Any academics she learns now would just be a bonus.  Right now I just want her there because *I* need the break, and I knew it would be great for her to be in a social environment away from me.  That's just what is right for our family right now.  If she hated it, I would have withdrawn her and tried again next year.  She has friends her age that aren't in preschool, and there is no noticeable difference between them.

 

My 7 year old is in 1st grade and I promise that it is impossible to tell which kids went to preschool and which didn't.  Mine did, at 4, and is one of the least advanced readers in his class.  Some of his peers that didn't go to preschool are the most advanced.  

 

I know it's impressive when 3 year olds can do math and read and all that - but it has very little bearing on their future academics and intellect.

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#5 of 15 Old 10-16-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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I worked in preschool/ early learning centers for 10 years on and off, but mostly on- And fortunately a few of them were pretty amazing (Reggio-Emilia inspired, child-led curriculum, etc), I also worked in a few "traditional" learning centers. Which are basically the norm... My children attended the same centers I worked at, so I got to see how they adapted and grew in pretty contrasting environments. "traditional" centers tend to be adult-centered, focus on what they feel are academics- teaching in units, worksheets, etc. One-size-fits-all. Often fail to make learning experiences relevant to children- And the environments seem to be lacking, especially where I was. As far as these centers my younger son went to are concerned, guess what? He got his abc's and numbers down, followed rules, learned songs, remembered the days of the week... But it was chaos there, stressful, high ratios, noisy, developmentally inappropriate at times. The child-centered preschools on the other hand did not stress "academics" in their obvious forms and instead surrounded the children in a great environment, an array of inspiring materials, and provided further resources for children based off their interests. Guess what? that is exactly how children can learn from home- you set the environment, you provide them opportunities and resources to learn how they would, naturally. Incorporating "academics" into a child's actual interests is much more powerful than expecting them to learn from a set curriculum in a chaotic environment.

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#6 of 15 Old 10-16-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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Great point mamakitsune.

 

I "homeschooled" my preschooler for 2 years... we learned some of the things learned in preschool and kindergarten, at her pace, but I also knew how much kids need to learn things over time, from multiple experiences and had to grapple with the need for it to look impressive. I have worked with kids most of my life before having kids and I was considered to be a very smart kid myself.

 

But I see what my daughter is learning and other people don't.  She just turned 5(a month after "school" started here) and has never been in any sort of school or daycare. 

 

She can write her first name, knows her letters, can count to 10 and sorta count to 20, can write a lot of letters and knows most of the sounds but she can't really read.  She can however, recognize tons of different fruits and vegetables, states and countries on a map, come up with great solutions when people are feeling bad, knows tons of yoga sets, tons of songs in Spanish, Sanskrit and English...understands many concepts of communication and emotional intelligence, as well as health concepts, reproduction system, plants/animals... and she speaks pretty good Spanish and she can create amazing stories and song lyrics on the spot...her memory is also amazing...she can meditate and process her emotions really well, and she's great at managing social groups, and she is a legitimately creative artist. 

 

On the other hand I have a brother who is only a year older than my daughter and my dad has worked with him academically and he is very advanced.  My dad recently visited and tried to test her and in his eyes she failed.  In reality...I failed.  She wouldn't count for him so she thinks she can't count...sometimes she mixes numbers up for fun because she doesn't always see herself as counting...sometime she is just singing numbers...he took that to mean that she didn't know the order of numbers... he has talked with me about working with her and giving her flashcards and how advanced my brother is and probably just think she is doing nothing and learning nothering all day long.  I couldn't talk to him about this when he was asking me these questions or telling me these things, assuming my daughter was not smart...assuming her intelligence could be measured by the "facts" she knows or other arbitrary things...

 

My daughter hangs out with kids in kindergarten and has for the past 2 years.  When the kids hang out you cannot tell any difference whatsoever.  All kids have something to offer...just because they learn about something in school doesn't mean they know it.  I remember last year she had just turned 4 and her friend had just started kindergarten.  They were outside drawing on the cement with chalk.  My daughter was writing letters and sounding things out...or saying "that makes the ssss sound..."  the parents of the kindergartener were shocked and impressed...they almost made their son feel bad that he was just learning these things... I let my daughter learn what I can tell she is ready to learn... I am open to anything she is interested in learning and I offer her new opportunities when things come up in our lives.  She may learn some advanced information about breastfeeding, midwifery, maps and yoga, and she may not yet be able to count to 20, but as long as I see when she is concerned with that and help her to explore and find her way of learning that, that really works for her...I think we are doing quite fine. 

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#7 of 15 Old 10-17-2012, 05:54 AM
 
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To sum up my viewpoints it's because I believe kids should be focused more on play and less on academics at this age.


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#8 of 15 Old 10-17-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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Maptome:  Something I realized in hindsight was that all of that imaginative play was really incredible learning.  My girls are 11 and 10 now, and the impact of all their pretend play is that now they write wonderful stories, because they've been practicing their storytelling since they were tiny.  They were also working out what they think about things and who they are.  They were late with their handwriting, but they were not wasting time.

 

Also, take a look at your friends' kids-- I'm guessing they aren't all exhibiting all those skills.  Either there's one kid whose way ahead, or there are several kids each of whom is doing one or two of those things, but it feels like they're all doing all of it.  It's like when you're short on cash and one friend goes on vacation, and another buys a new car and another gets a bunch of new clothes-- it feels like you're the only one not going on fancy vacations AND buying a new car AND buying new clothes, but really you've got plenty of company in not having each one of those things.  

 

Your baby will not be so tiny and fussy forever.  Give yourself permission to get through this time in whatever way seems best.  If you'd prefer having your daughter in preschool, and you can swing it, go ahead and sign her up, it won't ruin her or anything.  If you'd rather have her home, that won't ruin her either.  She will learn wherever she is, that's how kids are.   

 

((Hugs))

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#9 of 15 Old 10-17-2012, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by maptome View Post

Remind me why it's okay to not send DD1 (3) to preschool.  Her friends can write their names, know about gravity, sing songs together, can read phonetically...

...

 

Right now she's playing under a blanket with her stuffed animals, and it's pretty darn cute.

I just need some reassurance to not get competitive and not care about what other kids are doing.

The other ladies have done a good job reminding you why it's okay to skip preschool.  I wanted to reiterate how wonderful imaginative play can be.  

 

I would like to reassure you that there is no need to be competitive, etc.  However, I also wanted to reassure you that preschool CAN be ok too.  Look at what works best for your family.  

 

Amy


Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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#10 of 15 Old 10-17-2012, 10:03 PM
 
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I think you sound tired. While I don't think your daughter "needs" preschool, there may be a different, less time-intensive, drop off situation that would give you a bit of a break to focus on the baby, and give your DD more time with others if she seems to want that. Maybe look into things like classes at the Y or another parent who might be up for a childcare swap/playdate. 


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#11 of 15 Old 10-18-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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I think you sound tired. While I don't think your daughter "needs" preschool, there may be a different, less time-intensive, drop off situation that would give you a bit of a break to focus on the baby, and give your DD more time with others if she seems to want that. Maybe look into things like classes at the Y or another parent who might be up for a childcare swap/playdate. 

Of course, any mom with a baby and a preschooler is going to be tired, but I didn't get the impression that it was a problem in OP's situation and it didn't seem from her post that she was looking for a break.  She just wanted reassurance that her decision to keep her daughter home isn't the wrong one academically.  

 

Since this is "Learning at Home" we can assume that she wants the encouragement of parents who keep their children out of preschool for reasons other than financial ones--delayed academics, for example, planning to HS into the elementary or secondary years and wanting to establish a home rhythm, or simply the idea that the natural place for a child to learn is with their family.

 

Those are good suggestions, if it is indeed what she is looking for, but I simply did not read that in her post.


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#12 of 15 Old 10-18-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Of course, any mom with a baby and a preschooler is going to be tired, but I didn't get the impression that it was a problem in OP's situation and it didn't seem from her post that she was looking for a break.  She just wanted reassurance that her decision to keep her daughter home isn't the wrong one academically.  

 

Since this is "Learning at Home" we can assume that she wants the encouragement of parents who keep their children out of preschool for reasons other than financial ones--delayed academics, for example, planning to HS into the elementary or secondary years and wanting to establish a home rhythm, or simply the idea that the natural place for a child to learn is with their family.

 

Those are good suggestions, if it is indeed what she is looking for, but I simply did not read that in her post.

 

Actually, this sounds like tired to me: "They must get so much more attention and structure than I am able to provide.  We're stuck at home a lot with a grouchy napping baby, so DD1 doesn't experience much of the "explore the world" and "play outside" elements of development."  

 

It doesn't sound like academics is the worry so much as "is this lack of structure really the best for my child?" With a baby, structure can be very hard to provide at home, and she said right out that she feels like preschool offers "more attention and structure than I am able to provide." And you can get more structure without doing preschool, which is why I'm suggesting ways to get that. 

 

And I'm a 4 year homeschooler along with having a preschool-age kid. 


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#13 of 15 Old 10-19-2012, 12:15 AM
 
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What about learning activities that can be done with the baby in the ergo? Babies might not nap well the first few days but they can adjust to being in a slightly noisier environment, especially when in a carrier. There's also all that time the baby isn't napping. Let the baby play on the floor and do educational things. Even if the baby is napping in the carrier you can still do activities at the table, kitchen counter, or go out of the house. The baby can nap while you take a walk or look at the produce in the grocery store (estimating weight then using the scale, colors, nutrition, shapes, geography, math with prices and weights). A small amount of time could be set aside when you have another adult to entertain the baby where 'real' schoolwork is done - writing, letter sounds, numbers, simple math, etc. Fifteen minutes would be plenty, that can even be broken down into 2-3 sessions. 

 

FWIW, these three year olds aren't really in preschool. They're in daycares that call themselves preschools so parents feel better about other people caring for their children. 'Preschools' that have a 'curriculum' (send kids home with some facts so their parents think they're getting their money's worth) can charge more. Real preschool is for kids who will be attending kindergarten the following year. Daycare with educational components are great for parents who have to work but they don't replace the care kids receive at home.

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#14 of 15 Old 10-19-2012, 04:50 AM
 
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I am by no means an expert, having just started on this journey with my 4.5 year old and 2.2 year old.  But I totally agree with the pps who said to try doing things that you can do with your baby in a carrier.  Right now, I feel like being outside is the most important thing for my older guy, followed by just learning to be a part of society (i.e., our family).  So we've been doing a lot of hiking.  I bring a notebook and crayons, as well as a "nature bag" (ziplock baggie!) for each guy and we go out and look at leaves and jump on rocks and just walk around and talk about what we see.  We try to locate and gather interesting, seasonal "stuff."  This is all stuff that you could easily be doing with a little one in a carrier (in fact, I sometimes wish my 2.2 year old was still in a carrier!) ;)  So I don't know about what the weather is like or your surroundings are like, but that would be my first suggestion:  get out in nature.

 

Then, I agree 100% with pp who said to involve the older lady in housework.  Right now, that is my #2 most important "thing to learn" this year:  what your jobs are/how to fit into your family unit, etc.

 

Beyond that, everything is gravy.  I'm fairly sure that DS#1 is not going to write his name by the end of this year and that's totally fine by me.  As far as "academics," we're doing a "letter of the week" sort of thing.  It's just what it sounds like:  each week we concentrate on one letter (and just one sound that that letter makes), and do things related to that letter.  Next week is "F."  We will have a book of the week (Ferdinand), a song of the week (Farmer in the Dell), and an outing or special activity of the week (visit a Fire Department).  None of this takes much time at all (except the outing, which can take as much time as you have/need) and I'm not concerned with retention really.  It's just an introduction.  Next year, I may do some more (e.g., handwriting without tears, BOB books or something like that, etc.), but I'm not even sure about that.  I do have some Waldorf and Charlotte Mason-type leanings, though (both advocate leaving formal learning until 6 or 7), so read my whole post with that in mind.

 

Anyway, at our kids' ages, I think just being alive is enough learning :)  Good luck with whatever decision you make, but through the whole thing, go easy on yourself!

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#15 of 15 Old 10-19-2012, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maptome View Post

I just need some reassurance to not get competitive and not care about what other kids are doing.

 

Here you go:

 

http://www.nncc.org/Child.Dev/presch.dev.html

http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/three/index.html

 

Experts will not tell you that your 3 year old should be reading or writing already.  It is not developmentally appropriate to expect that.

 

At age 3, I think skills vary. Don't worry about what other people are saying their kids do.

I would think of all the things your dd can and does do. Imagining and creating worlds under blankets with her stuffed animals is wonderful!
Going where you go she learns much more than you realize. Your dd is learning about babies and taking care of them.  That isn't a small thing at all.

 

If you do need some more ideas for things your dd can do at home-

pan filled with sand, rice or beans to dig in

play dough

finger paint

simple puzzles

i-spy

dress up

pretend to cook

have your child find objects around the house that are a certain color, shape or start with a certain letter and collect them in a basket

string large beads or do lacing cards

look at books

listen to music or audio books

practice cutting paper

talk on the phone to grandparent or other relative

http://momsoffaith.com/2011/01/101-creative-ideas-to-keep-kids-busy-without-tv-technology-media-or-video-games/

http://joyfuljohnsons.blogspot.com/2009/07/preschool-activity-list.html

http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/preschool_activities.htm


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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