10 Reasons YOU Should Ditch the Preschool Curriculum
You are your child’s first teacher.
And, probably your child’s best and most memorable teacher. Why? You’ve been there. You’re the one who’s there at all hours of the day, seven days a week. No teacher can compete with that. By the time your child turns 5 and heads off to kindergarten, he/she has been learning for over 43,830 hours because when they’re really young, EVERYTHING is a learning opportunity.
As parents, we help our little ones learn everything- how to roll over, sit up, walk, feed themselves, their first words, how to get dressed, where to put their shoes when they come inside, how to brush their teeth… So, why not “teach” our little ones skills, concepts, and strategies that will help prepare them for school and life in general?
Can you come up with a good reason why YOU shouldn’t help prepare your child for their future?
My guess is no.
So, what can we do to prepare our toddlers and preschoolers for their futures- both in school and beyond?
- DITCH the idea of it’s “all or nothing.” We’re human and so are our children. We’ll have our good days, our bad days, and the same goes for our children. Life happens. Stuff comes up. You have 5 years with your child before he/she is supposed to start formal education, so this is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a journey, not a race. Take your time and let learning happen more naturally.
- SKIP the worksheets. Those are boring and there’s plenty of time for it when kids are in school. Plus, they learn best through play and interaction. This also means skipping the canned programs with nice pretty printables and tear out worksheets. There’s plenty of time for those when kids are older. Let them be little and learn through play while they’re still young enough to enjoy it and want to play with you!
- Not sure? Check out this post and the references at the end of it.
- INCORPORATE learning into your daily activities and routines. Driving to Grandma’s house? Talk about what you see. Count the number of trucks you pass and sing songs along the way. That’s just ONE example of how adjusting what we do with our time can help incorporate learning into our children’s day.
- TALK, talk, talk and talk some more! Kids learn sooooo much from the world around them, but they learn even more and at a deeper level when we talk about it with them. So, the next time your child asks you a question, don’t dismiss it. Answer it! Thoroughly. Kids ask because they’re interested in something and genuinely want to know more and want to understand. Capitalize on that and use it as a teachable moment. Get my FREE guide here!
- SHARE your passions, interests, and hobbies with your children. If you’re interested, odds are it’ll show through and your children will be interested too. Let that lead you to something they’re interested in and learn more about whatever that new topic might be.
- COMPARE your child’s progress against him/herself. Not anyone else. Is your child learning, improving, and making progress? Can your child do more this month than last month? Does she/he know more today than last week? Then, you’re good. Skip all the other ways you could compare your child and save that energy for something more useful.
- PLAY with your child. Talk about what you’re doing. Why. How. Count. Talk about the colors and shapes you see. What letters and letter sounds are around you? Share your ideas and your reasons for them. Your child is listening and taking it all in. Capitalize on that!
- READ. Read books. Street signs. Find letters in the magazines while you’re waiting for an appointment. Talk about what you’re reading. Ask questions about the book. Read more on the same topic. Just read. Read often (daily is preferable!).
- MAKE learning fun. Play games. Do experiments. Go on nature walks. Do whatever seems fun and make the most of it. Talk about what you see, hear, smell, what things feel like, and what you imagine they would taste like (if you really want to go there!). Ask your child questions. Listen to the answers. Be involved and attentive. If you’re fully present and engaged in whatever the activity is, your child will notice and will learn more from even the most mundane things. Simply because you were present.
- FORGO the fancy gadgets, devices, and push-button “learning” toys. You don’t need an app to teach your child. They’ll value it more from you and learn it better. You also don’t need a toy that has your child push buttons and gives them a response. Is that really how you wish you would have learned? Screens and electronic learning toys are not the best way for your child to learn. Find out more about the dangers of screen time here.
See? It’s really not that hard. All you need to do is guide your child, capitalize on the moments and be there. Your child will do the rest and will learn.
Is this glamorous?
Nope. It’s really just going back to basics and being involved. (And, is there anything really all that glamorous about being a parent? Even the Desperate Housewives had their parenting snafus!)
Is it easy?
If you start this way, it’s probably a lot easier than if you transition to it. But, once you’re used to maximizing the moments and finding and creating learning opportunities for your child, it’s fairly easy and actually quite fun.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely! Why wouldn’t your child’s future be worth investing in right now? Not in a monetary sense, but with time and learning. Aren’t you wondering what your child is really capable of? I know I am!
Your Next Steps…
As a former elementary and middle school teacher, I’m really passionate about education and helping parents teach their children at home in fun, authentic, and meaningful ways. It doesn’t mean you need to spend hours researching and finding activities that then require a lot of preparation and set-up time either! (Although you can, if that’s your thing)
I believe that all children can learn and that their parents are capable of helping them learn, so if you’re not sure, please contact me and let’s discuss it to see if this is right for you. No sales, just a conversation (and ideas for using this if you decide to give it a try). You’ve read this far, so obviously you’re at least somewhat interested, so send me an email. What do you have to lose? Not much, but your child has everything to gain.