What are the Keys to Good Pre-K?
What do we want our children's first experiences in school to be? What does a good education look like for 4-year-olds? How are educational standers and expectations impacting early child education?
There are many problems in early chld education education, but where do these problems come from? Why is there so much preassrue being placed on pre-K educators to push their students academically? Well amny teachers talked about how the preassure for students to perform well on the third-grade state exams has trickled down into the earlier childhood classrooms. This type of preassure has lead educators to adopt leassons that are not appropraite for young children; skill drills, work sheets, and other medhtods are being used prematurally .
The preassure to perform on standardized test has made teachers focus on academic skills hsa resulted in the limitation or compelte removal of time for play, exploration, social interaction, and fun. Schools are placing a greater priority on academic skill-bulding and are neglecting the developmental needs of children.
The idea of separating play from academic education has created a system that is not addressing the needs of youg children in the early stages of life. When children play, the vital cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional skills that are the gateway to so many more learning opportunities. Social growth is as essential to development as academic skill-building, and our school systems method of monitoring our children's education is neglecting to recognize this essential element in a child's development.
Pre-K classrooms are not designed to build academic skills. They are designed to help children develop on all play fields. The classrooms "are stocked with materials that invite exploration, fire the imagination, rquire initiative and prompt collaboration. The room hums." The teachers role in these situations is to encourage children to explore, and to serve as role models for conflict resolution and facilitate development with open-ended questions allowing children to solve problems in their own ways.
A recent article in the New York times discussess all of these topics in greater detail, and mentions some of Barbara Bieber (a Bank Street theorist) arguments on play. "Play develops precisely the skills- and, just as important, the disposition- children need to be successful throughout their lives." Play brings the real world closer to us, and demonstrates to children that they can understand the world through interaction. The long-lasting benefits of play are evident in everything that we do. Angela Duckworth, a famous TED speaker form the University of Pennsylvania, disvoered this quality called GRIT, which is the element that is most commonly found in successful indidivuals, and this factor has roots in ealry childhood.
If you have more questions about the New York Times article that inspired this post, check out this link (
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/opinion/the-building-blocks-of-a-good-pre-k.html?referrer ) or comment below. If you want to learn more about GRIT from Angela Duckworth, watch this TED video (