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 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!
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