More Fiber in Preschool? Seriously?

I recently read an article from the New York Times written by Dana Goldstein that dealt with the results of a new study regarding the use of a more rigorous curriculum in preschool classrooms. The study suggested that preschools do not mix enough "fiber" into their curriculum and therefore might be doing their young children a disservice.

The article told the story of a teacher doing a group geometry lesson extolling the attributes of a square. I have talked about group lessons before and I will do so again. When you sit all your little children down together in a small confined space, such as "the rug" and proceed to "lecture" to them with a flat paper object of some kind as an example, you most likely will not achieve the outcome you are hoping for! Dollars to donuts, at least one child will have their hand down their pants the entire time, another will have their shirt over their head, and of course, there is always one with their finger stuck in the ear of the child seated next to them.

The article went on to say that the new wave of preschools provide playtime, but their major goal is academic "kindergarten readiness." The study defined "academic oriented" pre-kindergarten programs as those in which teachers reported spending time most days on activities like sounding out words, discussing new vocabulary, counting out loud, and teaching children to measure and tell time.

Oh, but don't worry, because they also require at least 2 hours of "playtime" daily. This time is apparently broken into small chunks so as not to interfere with "learning" time.

All of this is well and good except for one small item that has been overlooked.
And that is, of course, that young children learn through play!
The subjects in the study are apparently non-believers and some of you reading this may also fall into that category.

So let's go over this one more time folks. Young children learn best through hands on experiences with real objects in a safe, caring environment facilitated by an attentive adult with whom they have formed a positive relationship.

Let's go back and take another look at the "geometry" lesson. I can think of at least a couple of other approaches to presenting the same information to children while they play.

#1. The block area is really hopping today. Some children are working on a large structure so here's an opportunity to talk about the "attributes of a square."
Teacher: So guys, I see you are really working hard on a project over here.
Little guys (or girls): Yes, we are building a ( insert any structure).
Teacher: I notice you are using some different shapes and sizes of blocks today.
Little guys: We want to make it really big.
Teacher: I see some squares. Do you know how I know it's a square?
Little guys: No, how?
Teacher: Well it has 4 sides, and 4 corners and all the sides are the same length.
(There may be some additional discussion about "length").
Can you find some more squares and show me where you used them?
Little guys: Sure, here's one and here and here, etc.

#2. You have cleverly left some pre-cut shapes (or stencils) in the art area. As you stroll by, you notice that some children are using them as part of their art creation today.
Teacher: Hi, guys, I notice you are creating some masterpieces today.
Little guys (or girls): Yes, we are.
Teacher: I see some of you have used the stencils to draw some shapes.
Little guys: Yes, we used the square one.
Teacher: Oh, how do you know it's a square?
Little guys: We just know.
Teacher: Oh, well I know it's a square because it has 4 sides and 4 corners and all the sides are the same length. ( Again some discussion about "length" might occur).

I could go on and on, but hopefully you are beginning to get the point.
For those of you who are still not getting it, let me say it again.

You don't have to sit children down in a group, on the rug, and lecture for them to learn. It can all be done while they "just play."

P.S. I'm pretty sure that fiber is just for old folks and constipated pets.

That's it for now.
Check back later!


Popular posts from this blog

Covid, Covid Go Away! Little Ones Want to Play!

New Year--New Word--Maddietude.

One Word For a New Year