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Pre School questions
Old 02-16-2014, 06:19 AM
  #1

A little girl I know will turn four this summer. Her parents are looking into preschool for her - and because I'm a teacher - I'm getting thrown their questions. I have no idea!!!

How many days - and why?

For most days, they need daycare too. She's currently in a day care that has a "preschool" component - is it enough to keep her there? Or is a separate "preschool" program needed?

What do you look for in a preschool program?

I teach fifth, so I'm totally out of this - but right now, she already knows her letters and numbers, she's trying to figure out reading (boy oh boy does she know those letters tell you something). She can recognize her name and the names of those close to her. Academically, she seems quite smart. Socially, she throws a hissy fit if she doesn't get her way - including peers who don't follow her rules. That social aspect is more important in preschool, though, right?

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Preschool
Old 02-16-2014, 06:31 AM
  #2

I would definitely say to look for an actual Prekindergarten program, especially as she is struggling socially. I have found that the daycare preschool does not quite have the same level of expectations when it comes to social behavior. When I taught Kindergarten, I would get parent that would tell me "I just don't understand, she behaves fine in daycare." Unfortunately, what I was asking their child to do was much different than what was expected at daycare.

As a prek teacher now, we do focus on academics also, but a huge part of our day is oral language development and learning to get along with others. We practice problem solving all day long. Impulse control is very difficult for children at this age. I would definitely tell her to look into different preschool programs and see which one offers more social and oral language development.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:31 AM
  #3

If she knows her letter and sounds and can count objects, I'd say leave her where she is. They are doing a good job. She needs the social development more than the academic.
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Absolutely, social skills should be the ...
Old 02-16-2014, 06:39 AM
  #4

Priority. Great if she is ready for academics, encourage but don't push. So many parents rave about how well their child can read count etc, and therefore many preschools push this. - perhaps because it is more easily measurable - and one thing to show off to the relatives. Harder to measure how well the child gets on with others, shares, deals with disappointment, follows directions, listens, follows the thread of a conversation, etc. in my view these are the important things to develop in the Pre school years. Pre as in preparing for school, not in doing school wipirk before starting school.

As for where to go ... If it is convenient to keep her in the same centre for daycare and pre- school, and the centre offers a good Pre- school programme, why not stay there. I would be looking for a good atmosphere when you walk into the room, confident children going about their business, choosing activities and putting them away afterwards, conversing naturally with peers and adults, an absence of worksheets and colouring pages ( I can see a little colouring in order to develop skills, and perhaps to tie in with a theme, but drawing, free mark making, creative work should be the norm). You should not see 22 identical pieces of 'art' on the wall. any artwork displayed should clearly be the child's work, not a sticking or colouring of teacher prepared pieces. There should be more child directed time than teacher directed time. There should be an outside area, ideally readily accessible from the classroom. The programme should focus on child development, not on themes that must be covered. If there are report cards they should be narrative accounts of h child's development, and should not give grades.
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:45 AM
  #5

I do not know the specifics with the daycare or preschool they are thinking of...but it sounds like the current one should be fine, no need to switch unless they have issues with the current place. Her academics sound right on track for beginning K. The social/emotional piece is key at this age. The amount of days really depends on the child and the family. I would recommend 3-5 days a week. Some younger kids (or parents) are just learning to "let go" and 5 days is too much for them. Some parents do not have to work 5 days a week but still want their child to get the routine of preschool so they send them a few days. Some parents have no choice but to send them 5 days due to work. All of these are fine and the family should do what is best for them. I do have to say they are making a great choice by sending her to preschool. K teachers can usually tell in the first minute or two on the first day of school if a child has never attended preschool. It is usually MUCH more difficult for them socially/emotionally, then you have the whole transitional needs of routine and expectations. Preschools/daycares with a preschool component, definitely are a huge benefit for young children!


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More info
Old 02-16-2014, 07:46 AM
  #6

Thanks for the quick replies.

Her mom (my best friend) is concerned that her social skills won't develop where she currently is as there are very few "whole class" things and in her opinion, nothing is really forced. Kids get choice the whole day - and from what I understand - it's very unstructured, so if she wants to spend the whole day playing with blocks or whatever, she's able. (sounds fishy, right?)

Mom and dad both dote on her and they talk to her, read with her, play games with her constantly. I'm not sure that her learning is really coming from daycare, but I am an outsider and really don't know.

I guess the general consensus is that there isn't really a right answer. It's what you think is best for your family/child.

thanks again!
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:24 AM
  #7

Social Skills and Preschool Myth

If this child is throwing hissy fits, parents need to go to some parent education classes and change what they are doing.

If they are doing it all right, they need to take their child to the doctor to see if she has ADD or Sensory Issues or ?

My personal opinion is that I think it does no good to push structure and academics on a 3 or 4 year old. Let them be babies.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:02 AM
  #8

Quote:
My personal opinion is that I think it does no good to push structure and academics on a 3 or 4 year old.
Agreed. So many "preschool" programs are incredibly developmentally inappropriate! Kids this age don't need reading and math skills shoved down their throats--although obviously if they're ready and interested, as this child seems to be, that should be encouraged.

I understand the temptation, because CCSS, etc. has forced kindergarten to be so developmentally inappropriate that parents and teachers feel pressured to push that down to even earlier grades. But IMO that pressure should be resisted if at all possible. We need to work WITH their little minds, not try to force them to be miniature second graders!

Summary: Sounds like they're happy with where she is now, and the only reason they'd change is to shove academics at her. That's a bad idea IMO.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:30 PM
  #9

I taught public PK for 12 years and K and first for the rest of my 31. Here is what to look for in a developmentally appropriate PK:

1. A stable environment with caring teachers who spend at least some of the time interacting with the children
2. Lots of opportunities for dramatic (house, store, doctor, etc.) and constructive (blocks, tinker toys, legos) play! Research has actually proven that children who have good social dramatic play skills do better in reading and language by 4th grade and children with good constructive play skills do better in math and science at the 4th grade level than those who do not.
3. Toys and activities within reach
4. Most play involving socialization, not isolation
5. Lots of opportunities to be creative - paper, markers, buttons, yarn, etc. for the children to FREELY explore and create
6. Opportunities for fine motor development - puzzles, hole punches, markers, crayons, etc.
7. A spacious and safe outdoor play area with opportunities for a variety of activities
8. A big focus on language and socialization - music and movement, lots and lots of read alouds even for those who can already read, nursery rhymes, songs, etc.
9. Encouragement to solve their conflicts using words

Red Flags:

1. Lots of worksheets
2. REQUIERD time on computers (computers are fine and most kids want to participate, but should not be forced to do so)
3. Lots of drill
4. Toys and activities out of reach and not used often
5. Little or no interaction of the adults with the children
6. A quiet classroom all or most of the time
7. Most time in activities and centers alone rather than with other children


Nancy
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:23 AM
  #10

Nancy - Thank you!!! That's something that I can pass along.


Other opinions are appreciated, but remember, I'm not the parent suggestions for parenting classes, etc are not really appropriate at this moment as these are concerned parents who are trying to make sure their daughter has the best start to her education possible.


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