Hi Readers! This wisdom for pre-school parents comes to us from Jen Singer, who is NOT just a personal friend, NOT just the blogger behind mommasaid.net, NOT just the gal who penned, You’re A Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren’t So Bad Either), but is ALSO the author of the brand-new Stop Second Guessing Yourself –The Preschool Years. That book inspired this post:
FLASHCARDS vs FUN
by Jen Singer
Wait a minute: Are those flashcards in that mom’s hands? At a baseball game? Yes. Yes, they are. She’s holding them up to test her preschooler on her letters and numbers – on a Friday night at Little League.
Meanwhile, your kids are playing under the bleachers. Something about a princess and a fire truck and magical cookies…you have no idea what they’re saying. All you know for sure is that your kids are having fun, while the little girl with the flashcards is working on mom-imposed homework and a nervous breakdown before she’s 12.
And yet you resist the culture pushing homework and studying for younger and younger children because you believe that kids learn through play — something your mom’s generation seemed to take for granted, while yours acts like it’s nothing short of heresy. Preschool, it seems, has become what first grade used to be – all about the three R’s: Readin’, Ritin’ and an awful lot of Responsibility for a bunch of four-year-olds.
Now, however, it appears that a fourth R has brought some common sense into today’s parents: Recession. All of a sudden it’s okay to put off the expensive piano lessons for kids who aren’t even old enough to read and to skip the personal soccer goalie trainer altogether. It’s okay if you let the kids just play instead of gearing them up for Yale right now. Isn’t it?
Frankly, you don’t care. Your Free-Range Kids are happy, healthy and plenty ready for preschool. How do you know? Because even though they can’t conjugate French verbs (well, not many, anyway), they know the four most important things they need to succeed in preschool:
- They can put on their own coats. (Ever watch a preschool teacher help 22 kids put on coats at recess? By the time she’s done, it’s spring.)
- They know how to share. (Not everything, every time, but they get the concept.)
- They can use the potty.
- They can sit (reasonably) still.
That’s it. That is the basis of what they need for preschool. Everything else, you suspect, they’ll learn thanks to a princess, a fire truck and some magical cookies…or whatever. They’ll learn through play, just like you did long before there were ever flashcards at a baseball game on a Friday night.