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what kids really learn in preschool

Posted Jan 25 2010 7:45am

As a follow-up to last week's post on the preschool admissions process for those of you weighing preschool options, I wanted to share a little gem I came across years ago.  Somewhere along the line with one of my three children, I got a wonderful handout on "What Kids Really Learn in Preschool" (from my preschool, natch).  Several commenters last week raised the issue of opting out of preschool, and the list below can easily be adapted for ideas for suggested skill-building activities to do at home or even at playgroups, which is why I've kept it on file for so long. 

I searched and was not able to find a source for this on line, but I've found it so valuable that I'll re-type the whole thing for you girls.  Happy play learning!

"What Kids Really Learn in Preschool" by Barbara Soloman

1)  How to be a student.  Although a preschool room can seem unstructured at times, there are many rules and routines designed to teach children how to conduct themselves in a classroom and be part of a group.  Children know where to put their finished projects, how to walk in line, and where to sit at story time.

2) How to make friends.  Preschool offers opportunities for children to forge friendships and settle differences without the help of a parent or caregiver.

3) How to be independent.  Parents tend to help their children with the small tasks of everyday life.  Preschool teachers, who have classrooms of 10 or more children, encourage students to take more responsibility.  Children learn how to put on their own jackets, wash their hands, and more.

4) How to tell a story.  Children in preschool have many opportunities to hear stories, as well as tell them and act them out with classmates. Children will begin to recognize the importance of the printed word.

5) How to ask for help.  Preschoolers develop confidence and inner strength to speak up for themselves.

6) How to cut and paste.  Art projects are definitely expressions of creativity for preschoolers, but working with scissors, glue sticks, and crayons also helps children develop fine motor skills that will help them with letter formation in kindergarten, and even note taking in high school.

7) How to build a block tower.  When children play with blocks or other manipulatives, they learn to sort and classify.  Building with blocks helps children with spatial skills and gives them an early foundation for understanding higher math concepts.

8) How to recognize symbols, concepts, and rhymes.  Preschoolers begin to identify numbers and letters, and develop a useful understanding of shapes and colors.  Rhymes and songs will also help children academically.  Children who know how to rhyme will learn to read more easily.

9) How to hop, skip, and jump.  Daily outside play helps preschoolers strengthen their muscles and develop coordination.

10) How to investigate and explore.  Preschoolers are natural scientists and they benefit from having plenty of hands-on, self-directed experimentation.

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