Thursday, June 24, 2010

Preschool and Kindergarten ~ Where to begin


There is no curriculum for a child of that age. However there are many wonderful things you can do to give your child what is truly the "best start". 

What a child of this age needs is rhythm, repetition and an active home life where Mommy allows her to participate. Helping you with your daily work, cooking, sweeping, etc. is the best curriculum you can offer. Neurophysiological researchers are finally confirming what wise parents and teachers have always known, that the first seven years provide a foundation for all of life. 

Toddlers and Preschoolers love to model your behavior and their play consists of acting out everything they take in from their surroundings, therefore the surroundings you create must be worthy of this imitation. Are you doing your housework with a "whistle while you work" attitude, or are you setting her in front of the TV or telling her not to bother you while you are busy. Many parents do not realize that young helpers grow to be willing participants in life whereas children who are told to step aside grow to be lazy and unwilling to lift a finger when it's time to help. 


You must be conscious and awake to what your child is taking in. Is the TV off? Does she have her own tools to work alongside you in the kitchen, garden, etc.? At our house we realize the importance of little hands helping so we have small sized cutting boards, knives, gardening tools, rakes, brooms and so forth all around the house.

These items are an investment in the child's education because they ARE the curriculum for this age group. Children also love to cook and play with dough. Bake bread, make soup, go to market and discuss what you are buying, and why. (Not with scientific explanations, but rather to give the child some sensory experiences. Example: "Oh my, look at all of these lovely apples. Which should be choose for our lovely cake?" and then smell them point out the bruised ones and behave as though the bunch you chose were the best of the lot - and what a great eye for apple picking your little one has!)

A child this age imitates, so provide creative opportunities where she can imitate you. There isn't much need for any explaining or discussion... Just go about your work, humming a sweet tune and soon your child will be working happily alongside you. She is watching you and wants to do as you do, so be aware of HOW you go about your work. Your child is learning how to behave and how to react during this time. 

Children of this age also delight in simple movement games, nursery rhymes and finger plays. If you want to feel like you need to "do something" as far as "curriculum", Than an informal circle is a good addition to your day. 


Allow your child to play. provide silks, stones, clips and indulge her wanting to build castles and hiding spaces. Allow your child's imagination to take over and try not to "instruct" your child on things at this age. When I worked as a parent toddler leader, I was so saddened by the parents who had to tell their child everything. 

They never allowed their children to explore or discover anything for themselves. The child would pick up a simple wooden block and begin to play and the parent would rush over "Oh, I see you have a block, what are you going to do with that?" - Meanwhile, for all we know, the child imagined it to be a piece of fruit, a person, a friend... Parents and children often quickly became agitated and the children would react by behaving in anti social ways. So allow your child to wonder and to imagine, to dream. Step back from the feeling that you must explain everything... now is not the time.

Finally, rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. This is KEY in the life education of any child. The child needs to know what she can count on, and know her place in her world. She just blossoms when there is order and simplicity and she feels good following a routine. Do you have a daily rhythm? A weekly rhythm? A seasonal rhythm? Do you celebrate festivals and holidays with your child fully involved?

In closing, I wanted to add that you should feel good that your child is home with you and know that in itself is the best start. While children from deprived homes may benefit from a nursery program, the IDEAL for toddlers and preschoolers is a stable, secure and loving home life with a parent who provides and encourages satisfying and creative activities for the child. 

1 comment:

  1. Very timely blog post, thank you. I need to keep this in mind as the older two do their lessons.


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