When my children were ready for a pre-k program (4,5 years old), I looked for a school where play was the priority. I didn't care about them learning anything academic and always figured it would all come in time during K, 1st, 2nd. Today they are in college, HS, and middle school and have had successful school experiences. Lots of straight A years, homework always done, honor roll, etc. The pre-school where I teach now (4,5 year old class) is very involved with academics - rhyming words, addition sentences, vowel sounds, patterning. It is what kindergarten was 15 years ago, from what I can tell. My students seem ready for all this and are very focused on the traditional 3 R's. Now my question. Does it matter? My children's preschool is still in existence nearby and I wonder...will there be a difference between the kids who just play before K and the ones who are writing CVC words and full sentences. (kid spelling, of course) Obviously they will recognize some of these skills more quickly when they enter K, but will there be a difference once the "strictly play" kids are exposed to the skills? Does it all even out eventually? I always thought it did. So then what is the point of teaching my 5 year olds about bar graphs and vowel sounds? Don't get me wrong, my students have lots of play time in the classroom and 30 minutes per day outside. (1/2 day program) I don't have a set curriculum, so can do as much or as little as I want. The parents seem to like the academic exposure and the kids are not at all stressed with it...they love it, actually, and are little sponges - very easy to teach. I do as little paper/pencil as possible, keeping the learning to hands on activities. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts.