There’s More To Preschool Than Learning Letters & Numbers

I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends lately about their preschool-aged kids and how the majority of preschool teachers are very focused on learning letters. They assign homework or make comments like, “Maybe work with your student on their letters at home, he seems to not be picking them up as fast as other kids.” 

WHY.

Why are we so focused on kids learning letters and reading so early? Why are we adding to the stress and pressure moms feel? Why do we feel like walking away from preschool with every single letter memorized is our end goal here? 

Let’s talk about other skills kids learn and walk away with from preschool that is even more important than letters and numbers. 

  • Social skills- working with other children in play and at learning stations. 
  • Language skills- walking away from school talking better and easier to understand. 
  • Coping skills- how to handle emotions when mom and dad leave or someone takes a toy they wanted. 
  • Responsibility with sensory bins, play dough, paint, toys, and other items. 
  • Fine motor development- working through fine motor activities such as stickers or fingerpaint so later in life, they can do things like…. Hold a pencil. 
  • Gross motor development- jumping and skipping and throwing. 
  • Gaining a love and appreciation for literature.
  • Spatial awareness. 
  • How to open snacks independently. 
  • How to prepare food.
  • How to advocate for themselves. 
  • How to communicate needs and wants. 
  • Empathy and sympathy. 

There is a list of OVER TEN things that preschool-age students walk away with that are essential to the future of their education, yet we are still focusing on learning letters and numbers. Yes, learning letters and numbers are important and we should focus on them as well! But it shouldn’t be our only spotlight. Play is a child’s work, it’s how they learn and grow. If we are giving them adequate time to play and interact with peers and adults, that’s what they need more than anything.  

Please stop adding to the stress of parents and students by shoving numbers and letters down their throats! Please celebrate all of the accomplishments your child is achieving during preschool! 

Other helpful articles: 

Other Activities To Do Instead of Explicitly Teaching Letters

What is Play-Based Learning?

Reading Before Kindergarten

Kindergarten Prep Frenzy

What I’ve Learned Teaching Preschool 

A Whole Page of Early Ed Resources

Tips For Applying For Scholarships

What’s better than money? FREE money! There are different companies and people around the world that understand not just how expensive higher education can be, but also how important it is. To help this, they offer students scholarships to help offset these costs. (Hint, hint, we offer a really good scholarship too!) As far as applying for scholarships, here are our tips! 

  • Never assume you are too young or too old. You can find scholarships as young as 7th or 8th grade or even clear into your Ph.D. 
  • Write out a general essay that you can adapt to each scholarship you apply for. 
  • If you are employed, check into your company to see if they offer any scholarships or school reimbursement 
  • Get started early! If you procrastinate on deadlines, you may miss out on great opportunities. It also looks good to scholarship boards to see those that submitted early versus those that waited until the last minute. 
  • If you have specific questions about the scholarship, reach out to them and ask! More often than not, they are happy to answer your questions. 
  • Apply for as many as you can find. If all you have to put in is time to apply for scholarships, it’s worth the money you’ll receive. 
  • Make sure you read all of the requirements and qualifications for a scholarship and double-check that you’ve done everything before submitting. Many people are turned away from a scholarship because they do not have all of the materials needed when submitting. 

Check out this video!

Good luck applying! Be confident in yourself and your qualifications. What other tips would you add to this list? 

Personality Types: Are They Meant To Put You In A Box?

I’ve written multiple series on personality types and how they relate to education. Read about them here:

Myers Briggs Personality Types

Enneagram in Education

A lot of people are not a fan of learning more about personality types because they feel like they are put into a box when assigned a “type” or “number”. I see this point of view! I absolutely have felt the same way. I have also felt like as I read general overviews of types, I can relate to every single one, they seem very “vanilla” and are relevant to anyone with a pulse.

While these are valid, I have found in my research that these personality types are not trying to put you in a box, their goal is to help you understand yourself and those around you a little deeper. Just because you identify with one “type” doesn’t mean you have to or will act EXACTLY the same way. However, it can help you understand your personality better if there are aspects you do identify with.

For example: I am an ENFJ in the MBTI personality type. This tells me I am extroverted and breaks down what exactly extroversion means. This one in particular I came out with 95% extroverted when completing the test, so it is a trait that I can learn more about and help me apply these findings to my life.

(N) means I primarily use my intuition over my senses. Does this mean I don’t use my senses? No! It means I primarily tend to choose intuition over sensing, however, I can still use sensing at times too.

(F) means I use feeling in decision-making versus (T) which is thinking or logic. I use both, and often! But feeling tends to win over thinking. (J) means I use judgment over (P) perception. I can use both and I do.

Because I identify as an ENFJ I have lists and articles galore that can help me dive deeper into learning more about my personality. Including the ones I wrote. But if an article reads, “you thrive in group work because you are extroverted.” but I personally don’t like group work, it doesn’t mean they are trying to fit you into a box. That is the general consensus of the ENFJ type, and you are who you are. Not many people fit the exact mold or can agree with every single point in their personality type.

So next time you don’t want to research your personality type for fear of “being put in a box”, consider that it’s there for you to learn more and gain knowledge, not put you in a box!

What is your MBTI or Enneagram if you know it? How does it help you learn more about yourself to research personality types?

Talking To Students About Current World Affairs

It’s no secret that the United States is going through some historical times right now. A historical election, storming the capital, Black lives matter movements, and all during a global pandemic. 

It’s vital for us as educators and parents to talk with our kids about these events as they happen so that they can understand what is going on in the world around them. But it can be daunting to bring these conversations up in a classroom setting, especially in classrooms with older kids where conversations can run deeper and you never know where they will end up. 

Here are a few tips to be able to bring these conversations up in a civilized way in your classrooms. 

  1. State facts only, no opinions. It’s not our job to sway our students in a political direction, it’s our job to foster a learning environment for them to decide their own political beliefs. 

“Some individuals that identify with the republican party made the decision to riot and storm the U.S. Capitol.” 

“People in the Black community felt like they have not been treated equally with those in the White community, so protests are happening around the nation.” 

Yes, there is a lot of emotion in both of those statements, and your students will likely dive deep into them. However, just remember that your job isn’t to sway their political stance, but foster their education on both sides. 

  1. Be clear about what happened. Especially in the younger grades, they don’t need a lengthy background on what is going on. They need clear, cut-to-the-chase points. 
  2. Validate emotions. Again, emotions will come up and be high in a conversation regarding these events. Their emotions are valid and a natural reaction to the situation, validate them! Even if you disagree! 
  3. Set expectations for discussion and stick to them. Give a gentle reminder if needed. 
  4. Don’t be afraid! It can be daunting, but you never know where the conversations may go! Your students may surprise you with their insight and ability to regulate a conversation. 

Do you discuss political happenings with your kids? What other tips would you include? 

Handling Senioritis

Hey seniors! It’s that time of the year again. The time when Christmas break is over and you’re heading into your last days of school before graduation. Anytime between now and the spring, senioritis is going to hit. It happens to everyone! As someone who has been through senioritis twice, once in high school, once in college, here are my tips for you to make it through your last months as a student! 

Take breaks. Work hard and get those assignments done, but also, take breaks! It will help you be more productive in the long run. Plus, you deserve a break! 

Make lists and prioritize what needs to be done. 

Fill those lists with exciting to-do’s as well! Such as “pick up senior packet” or “Finish last paper.” 

Grab a friend to do homework with, study, and check off those to-do lists with! It can be easier to stay motivated if you’re both working towards a common goal. 

Remember that you didn’t come this far to only come this far. The end is near, you can make it! 

You’re a great student and have the potential to go so far, so keep going! We believe in you! 

The Winter Holiday Book List Roundup

The past month I’ve been writing articles on picture books for winter holidays beyond Christmas. I realized that a Christmas book list was always on my mind come December, but I was being one-track-minded and not recognizing that there are plenty of people in the nation and the world that celebrate many other holidays during the winter season.

It was fun to put these different book lists together and learn more about each holiday. I’ve been able to teach my own children more about different holidays as well! Here is the full list of each holiday I covered.

Diwali
Christmas
Hanukkah
Las Posadas
Chinese New Year
Winter Solstice
Kwanzaa
Three Kings’ Day

What picture books do you like best to teach your children about different winter holidays?

Picture Books For Three Kings’ Day

I am a day late on Three Kings’ Day, I apologize! I was hoping to get this article up on January 6th, the day the holiday is celebrated. However, a mental health day was much needed, so therefore this post is a day late. However, I still feel it is an important one and should not be put off another year! So here it is! Picture books to read for Three Kings Day. 

Celebrate Christmas and Three Kings’ Day with Pablo and Carlitos 

The Story of the Three Wise Kings 

Hurray for Three Kings’ Day!

What other books do you like to read to your class about Three Kings’ Day? Is this a holiday that is represented or celebrated in your classroom?