I read an interesting article last week, “The Case for the New Kindergarten : Challenging and Playful (Education Week, June 4, 2014). In it, authors Daphna Bassok, Amy Claessens, and Mimi Engel bring to light some of the current thoughts on how preschool relates to kindergarten readiness. “Our research shows that most kindergarten teachers now think academic instruction should begin in preschool and indicate that it’s important for incoming kindergartners to already know their letters and numbers.” How do you as a parent or educator feel about this? I am torn. I agree that in preschool (particularly 4 year old preschool) can and should be introducing the “PRE” versions of these concepts and skills, in an appropriate and hands-on, play based manner. Can it be done? Of course! Pre-K teachers do this everyday.
The authors go on to explain the balance that is necessary to meet the needs of todays educational systems and philosophies, without short changing the children and forcing them to do work in a way that their brains just are not ready for. “Rather than focusing on whether academic content has a place in early-childhood classrooms, let’s focus on how to teach it in a way that is tailored to young learners. Let’s focus on creating engaging, fun, developmentally appropriate learning experiences for all kindergartners, acknowledging the importance of embedding enriching language and numeracy experiences within those environments.”
I love the concept of embedded learning, how about you? It is enjoyable to come up with activities and environments that support the development of a particular skill. For example, here are some dramatic play ideas that go deeper than what is seen on the surface.
Additionally, I feel it is equally important to let parents know our intentions. Let them know why we put out a certain activity or set up a center they way we did. It is eye opening for many parents to see that we what we are doing goes far beyond play ( although playing with and nurturing children is certainly the joy of our jobs!).
Over the summer I have been working on making some new felt board stories, looking at new curriculum idea and taking a webinar or two . Etsy and Teacher Pay Teacher have taken off a teenie bit. I am still figuring out how to better market these. I did some writing but not as much illustrating as I had hoped. My dream is still to publish a children’s book…dream, dream, dream.
So I have been a little busy with this type of work, all the while enjoying the summer weather and all that goes along with it.
Some of my very talented blogger friends have been posting some great ideas! Karen at Prekinders just posted a wonderful way to cover your easel with colorful wrapping paper. Check out her post here. Her blog and website is ALWAYS worth checking out! Tons and tons of awesome ideas.
Preschool Printables offers some really cute and useful free downloads. Take a look here. You just download the files, print and cut out, glue half the pieces into a plain file folder, the rest glue onto poster board, and laminate. You may then add velcro tabs and voila! You are ready to play some neat table games.
Well that is about it for now, just a quick update. I will be posting more as we get our rooms and materials ready. Good luck with you own preparations!