Preschool academics and parental/board expectations

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by Inspira, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. Inspira

    Inspira Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2006

    Okay. I am from the school of thought that learning through play is best. I have an early childhood background, not education, and my teaching philosophies are more in line with early childhood settings than school ones. So. I want to be sure my program is educational, but I do not want kids sitting doing worksheets, tracing letters all day. I have had a lot of concern from parents feeling there isn't enough teaching/learning going on. I think this is ridiculous, and try to communicate how MUCH learning is in fact happening every day. Still, I am obligated to at least meet the board half way. How do you incorporate academics into your program? I have matching games and a variety of manipulatives etc, but the teacher before me (and she had a b ed) used worksheets and practice sheets and the parents loved it. I want some interesting ideas on how to integrate the alphabet, and numbers into programming I guess. I have a tonne of books, but thought I'd hit you guys up too, as thus far, you've been indispensible to me! Thank you so much in advance, and I'm sorry this is so loooooooooooooong!
    Steph (Inspira)
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006
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  3. PB&J

    PB&J Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2006

    Well, numbers and letters are worked on all day! Calendar, counting kids, matching, etc. You are already probably working on this! If I were you I would look for an article about how kids learn through play to send home. Also, if you send home lesson plans, you could always write what is being achieved through a specific activity. For instance, if they are painting you can add:

    painting self-portraits (creativity, art, science through mixing colors, self-esteem)
     
  4. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 27, 2006

    Do everything you are doing now, but ADD one day of worksheet practice. Those are called "Parent Pleasers." You need to impress the parents and give them what they ask for...and then just go about your way of teaching.
     
  5. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jul 28, 2006

    Steph, I think it depends on the kids. Some of my kids love doing worksheets and have learned a lot from them. Why not use them if the kids enjoy doing them? How else will they learn to write letters properly anyhow? They DO have to learn how to write letters properly on paper, regardless if it's called a "worksheet" or not. My philosophy is a mixture of both, personally. My thinking is that you can't go wrong with a little bit of everything. So you do a few worksheets every now and then. It doesn't hurt.

    As for integrating academics, I use learning centers where they rotate in. These centers are not like the ones set up in the classroom that are permanently there every day. These are special centers used for the lessons for the day. They all take turns at each of them and the centers are different each day. We use them during our academic and lesson portion of the day.
     
  6. teach4Knsc

    teach4Knsc Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2006

    A great book with research on play is "Einstein Never Used Flashcards" by Golinkoff.

    I do a nursery rhyme each week that coordinates with our letter of the week. The students have unlined marble comp. notebooks into which I put a copy of the nursery rhyme. Through the week they are to do different activities such as read, act, draw, circle the letter of week in the rhyme, look for rhyming words, etc as homework. They should know the rhyme by Friday when they return their book. This is how we have combated the "we need homework" at our preschool.

    I also use the Handwriting Without Tears program, so we do have a handwriting sheet we practice at school, and we send it home with the duplicate on the back to practice at home.

    We are a play-philosophy school, so we do emphasize this to our parents all year, esp. at Parent Night.
     
  7. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jul 28, 2006

    I'm of a similar philosophy. Unfortunately, at least in this area, that's just not going to cut it any more. I have the most academic curriculum to follow! They're basically expecting kids to begin reading at the end of PreK and to be writing basic sentences. And I don't have much of a choice about it. Not that it's all bad...I've been amazed at how much the kids do learn with this program...I just wish there was more time to play, and that the kids who are not as advanced had more options in the curriculum.

    Anyway, there's nothing wrong with a worksheet or two. I'd schedule them into a part of your day that's brief and not overly important...like entry time. Have worksheets and pencils on the table and have the kids work on them independently as they filter in for the day. When they're done, they can get a table toy or whatever and when everyone's done, you can get a move on with your day.

    I also asked around here a few weeks ago for info on the benefits of play and there were some great responses (I think I did it on the kindergarten board.) There was one website that listed each center and what sort of skills are developed there. It was great. I re-typed it to suit what I call my own centers, added graphics and plan to give it out at curriculum night. If you want a copy, send me a private message with an address (home or school, whatever you're comfortable with) and I'll send you one.
    Kim
     
  8. Inspira

    Inspira Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2006

    Amazing replies, thank you ladies so much! Grammy teacher, I think I love you! That's a fantastic solution. While I don't personally believe worksheets are the most effective way to teach, I can certainly insert a "parent pleaser" (lol) into my program, without compromising my philosophy, to keep the sharks at bay. ;)
    Thank you again everyone, your posts have been very helpful!
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    You are very welcome. I've been doing it for years and it works. Sometimes I even put some red marks on the paper...ya know like, "excellent" or "keep up the good work!" They eat that right up.
     
  10. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Aug 1, 2006

    Fantastic advise and so simple!!!!
     
  11. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Aug 1, 2006

    Yea, it's nice to have the parents on your side!
     

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