All kids are different, and they learn differently. Young children like to move around, their attention spans are short, and the older child box we try to squeeze young learners into isn’t the best for their development in my humble opinion. We as a society shouldn’t be so stringently expecting 3-years-olds to know all their ABCs and 1,2,3s, or requiring prerequisite goals to be met prior to kindergarten. I could be wrong, but to me, it seems that 5-year-olds must know much more in school than they did when I was 5. My question is how much better is a child for having this knowledge sooner? Are their career opportunities really that much more available if they can read by 5 or 6 instead of 7 or 8? And who made these new gold standards? Who decided little kids that barely reach their teacher’s waist should be doing homework pages after an already too lengthy day?!
Maybe I’m too relaxed. Maybe you think I’m off my rocker, or that my kids will end up making nothing of their lives. I guess I’m just wondering who decides what outcome is worthwhile? Perhaps every child won’t go to college, and that’s ok. Some children may become neurosurgeons, while others will prefer an apprenticeship in a technical field. Isn’t that ok too? Will sitting 5-years-olds in a desk for 8 hours to complete worksheet after worksheet really produce the best outcome for future academic excellence? I say, hogwash. I say, let them be kids.
I say, let them run. Let them stand, sit, jump, and play. Let them discover the world around them. Let them ask questions, and be available for the answers. Let them observe their surroundings and create conclusions. Gently guide those experiences. Let them nap! Let them sleep in! Let them do structured, sit-down work for short bursts of time, and throw away the homework! Let their brains absorb all they can, but then also allow them time to decompress and unwind. Allow them the time to process all the new things they’re taking in.
But most importantly, we need to check ourselves. We need to stop worrying if our preschooler is at the right reading level, or if they’re measuring up. They’re 3 and 4 years old, for goodness sake. They have the rest of their lives to worry about deadlines and schedules. We need to stop creating this invisible yardstick that our young children must measure up to, or we’re the absolute worst parent in the world! Who cares if Michelle’s precious daughter can read already?! She also eats her boogers and pushes other kids in line!