Monday, March 21, 2011

Preschool...or No Preschool..that is the question???!!

"Knowing what to expect from a teacher is a really good thing, of course: It lets you get the right answers more quickly than you would otherwise. Indeed, these studies show that 4-year-olds understand how teaching works and can learn from teachers. But there is an intrinsic trade-off between that kind of learning and the more wide-ranging learning that is so natural for young children. Knowing this, it's more important than ever to give children's remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies."By Alison Gopnik


On my MSN homepage I found an article that stood out to me "Why preschool should not be school" . The Hubs and I just had this conversation with some friends about whether or not our kids would go to preschool. The Hubs was very adamant about our son going...while our friend did not think it was right to put children in "school" that early. He had more of the idea of let kids be kids...while The Hubs was on the side of preschool being a great tool for social skills. The Hubs is very social and loves people and our friend(who I always agree with) is not a social person.
I did not go to preschool and so this whole idea is new to me. I am so worried about making the wrong decision. The Hubs went to Kiddie College..spelled Kiddie Kollege or something clever like that I am sure(misspelling college though is not a very good idea for a school if you ask me..but I am just assuming that..forgive me Kiddie College if I am wrong).  Anyways...I found this article on Slate.com to be so interesting. They write about a few learning experiments done on 4 year olds. One approach is the teaching method where the children imitated  exactly what the teacher showed them in a series of tests with a toy. The other approach, the adult acted clueless and tried to get the toy to work but left the kids to figure it out themselves. The point of this article was to show the two different learning styles of children and which produced a more positive or productive outcome. One reader suggested that maybe the teacher should act as if she did not know how to work the toy but then figure it out and walk through the steps with the children until they figure it out. That was my thoughts as well. Isn't that what a teacher is suppose to do? Teach...help our children to come to the correct answer/outcome??? But also is this style of learning to be left until they are of age to truly be able to understand what the teacher is trying to accomplish.
The whole "your baby can read" infomercials are a crack up. I don't want my baby to read..I want to read to him. I want to teach him his ABC's and then once it is time for preschool or Kindergarten he can further hone his reading skills. I have friends who are like "my baby can read" or "my sister's baby can already read at 2 years old"... oh isn't that special:). Learning is a beautiful thing and if your child can read at an early age that is great and I am not opposed to that but when it is forced and you become a "proud parent"..the kind of parent that boasts of their child's achievements to EVERYONE...you need to ask yourself if it is for the good of your child's education or for your own self worth.
I have friends who their child has not said more than a few words..when my son is talking up a storm...but their child excelled in walking way before or other skills that my son took forever to pick up.
In conclusion I think that the pressure on kids is so amazing these days. American kids are already stressed out by the time they reach elementary school. I remember my sister taking all these AP classes in High School and even Junior High. She was doing homework at all hours of the night and then had to read during the summer. She never got a break. She loves education...me on the other hand I passed all my classes..never put much effort into anything "extra". Would be darned if I had to do anything school related during the summer and tried to finish all my homework within an hour of getting home or in homeroom.I never understood why we had to spend hours at school and then another few hours on homework. Completely different learning styles. I have to say my sister is smarter than me but I have an amazing job. She is still experiencing the college life...I never did. I worked my way up and maybe she will not have to. Hey but I have no school loans!!! Actually she got most of her schooling paid for because she is a smart smart girl! Two different roads but would either of us change it NO. We learn differently but are happy with the results. I think that is the approach that we are going to have to take with our little one. We really need to be aware of how he learns and if preschool will be right for him. Here are my pros and cons and then I will stop...didn't realize I had so much to say on this topic!!!!

Pros:
  1. Make new friends..a good social outlet
  2. Learn from someone else other than Mommy and Daddy
  3. Rest for Mama...hehehehe
Cons:
  1. Force learning too young..not enough free time to explore
  2. The cost of preschool
  3. Learn bad habits

P.S. I looked up Kiddie Kollege online and it came up. One in the area The Hubs grew up..so I will have to ask The M-I-L if that was the one:).