Is preschool your child’s chance to get a head-start on his brilliant future? Or maybe your philosophy is to just have fun until it’s time to buckle down to school. Today on Home School Heartbeat, host Mike Smith and Vicki Bentley navigate a happy medium.
Vicki, for parents who are embarking on preschool—how academically structured should that program be?
Well, Mike, if you mean structured learning as opposed to play-based learning, studies show that developmentally, young children benefit from—they actually need—lots of physical and creative play…building, pretending, exploring, discovering, trying out their ideas. We have to remember—what looks like play to us is work to them! So for basic academics, foundational math encourages everyday mathematical thinking: things like counting and sorting objects, cooking—measuring and pouring, dividing the pizza, counting out the M&Ms. Even setting the table is one-to-one correspondence, a math skill! Everyday language practice includes alphabet puzzles, and notes to Grandma, telling you about their latest adventure, or even just cuddling up for read-aloud time. And if that’s not structured enough, there are guides to help you plan a few activities based on some of those library books you are already reading together, or on other interests your child has. We have some suggestions for parents at hslda.org/preschool.
Vicki, your information this week is really going to be helpful for parents of preschoolers; we thank you for it! And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.