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It’s much more than ABC and 123…

Are you concerned that your child is not receiving enough academic preparation in Preschool? With so much emphasis placed on academic readiness in early education with relationship to a child’s future educational success, it is no wonder parents want to know their child is receiving the best preparation possible. However, this concern is causing some well-intentioned parents to fall into the trap of expecting too much, too soon.

Parents are the first and most important educators of their children. Still, it is important that parents partner with their child’s teacher in the education of their child. A major component of that partnership is parents understanding the developmental learning process and realizing the importance of allowing children the opportunity to move through each stage of development in order to provide a solid foundation for the learning and retention of academic lessons.

It is easy to be misled into believing that number and alphabet-based curriculum is the most important curriculum in preparing children for school. It is true that children can learn to read at very young ages. It is true that children can learn to count and do simple math equations at very young ages. The question is whether or not these skills are the best things for young children to be learning at the Preschool level.

Children must have a developmentally-based foundation upon which academics are built. A developmentally-based curriculum focuses on the developmental stages that all children naturally progress through as they grow. A developmentally-based curriculum will create learning opportunities that are appropriate for maximizing the learning potential for each stage. An academic-based curriculum is very concerned with making sure children know their alphabet and their numbers, but a developmentally-based curriculum recognizes that alphabet and math skills are just one of many very important components in early education readiness. Yes, math and reading skills are extremely important, but without the appropriate developmental base, children may struggle to acquire, maintain and build their math and reading skills in a lasting, meaningful and productive way.

Try to think of it this way. When you go to buy a house, the first thing you see is the house itself. You look at floor plan, the size of the rooms, the amenities and the neighborhood. All of those things are important to consider. However, the most important thing a home buyer needs to be assured of is the foundation upon which that house is sitting. It is important to know what material the foundation is made of, how deep the foundation is laid and how the rest of the house is secured to that foundation. If that foundation is in some way flawed or inadequate, no matter how wonderful the house may seem, structurally, it will be very weak.

Kimber Hills Preschool provides the foundation for children’s academic success. We are very discerning in hiring experienced, trained teachers who specialize in providing early educational foundations for children. That foundation is not always expressed in what most would interpret as academics. Where Preschool is concerned, academics are related specifically to the areas of spiritual, physical, social, language, and cognitive development.

These areas are translated into play time, story time, sharing time, art time, music time, chapel and much, much more. Each of these developmentally and academically enriched areas provide early educational opportunities crucial for ensuring that your child will be ready to successfully learn reading and math skills when it is appropriate for him/her to do so.

Our goal is for children to approach their learning experiences with excitement and enthusiasm. By carefully monitoring their developmental readiness we know when children are ready to progress to more challenging materials. When children feel successful, they confidently approach challenges believing they can accomplish anything. On the other hand, stress, frustration and lack of interest results when children are being put into situations where expectations are too high and they are met with failure. Recently, information has been released linking incidences of disruptive behavior and even violence among young children who have had too many academic expectations placed on them at the preschool and Kindergarten levels. Many studies have also shown that children who were placed in early education environments where they were expected to excel at a faster pace became frustrated and bored with school in their elementary and middle school years.

Parents love their children and want the best for them. In our society, parents are constantly bombarded with new theories on education. Developmental readiness is not a theory. It is a fact. All children move through the same developmental stages. This is how God made us to be. One of the best things a parent of a Preschooler can do is allow their child the gift of time to develop each stage as God designed them. This will help to assure a happy, confident child who is capable of accomplishing challenging goals in their education as well as their lives.

Diane Hurst, Preschool Director

California State Licensed Early Childhood Instructor with over 30 years experience and Director of Kimber Hills Preschool in Fremont, CA.

 

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