We always hear about reform in our educational system and more accountability for our student’s performance. “School readiness” is used to describe five-year-old children entering kindergarten and their success as daycare completers. The design of kindergarten education is intended for five-year-old, so how can a child not be successful in kindergarten? Most legislators and professionals who are not involved with the psychological development of a child, lack complete understanding on how to entirely describe a child is ready for school. They are only concerned with the numerical value of the age of the child and seldom on the emotional and cognitive implications.
Learning At Two And Five
The part of the child’s brain that is responsible for feelings, emotions, and relationships are rapidly developing from two to five years old. The focus for these years is for the child to learn how to control and handle his emotions correctly and how to relate to other people surrounding him. This is the time where he learns to make friends, negotiates with his classmates, handles rejection and forms attachments to the underlying social and emotional life skills of others.
Introducing the alphabet, phonics, words thoroughly, and numbers must not be done during these young ages because academic and cognitive abilities of the brain become highly active only when the child reaches the age of six. It is at this age where we can introduce the academic and straightforward arithmetic skills to them. We put children’s future learning at risk if we push them to learn prematurely the academic skills which are not intended to their developmental age. The emotional part of children is forgotten if we are intentionally forcing and challenging the brain during the preschool years.
The Inquisitive Stage
“Experimenters” and “active learners” are some of our description of preschool children. The preschool mind operates subconsciously like that of a scientist. This is the stage where they are most inquisitive and will ask questions until they are satisfied with the information they obtain. As such, it is vital for them to be engaged in activities that interest them including their social interaction which involves play and language. In this manner, their intellectual and emotional development will fall in its proper order, and they will not find difficulty in learning new things. The method of presenting new ideas that encompass math, science, and literacy to daycare must be carefully studied because it is vital to their age. It needs not to be so complicated because they will find it challenging to digest new information introduced to them. These learnings are given in a play environment to ensure that there is no pressure and zero, or minimum stress is experienced throughout the process.
Learning Through Play
Using traditional methods of memorization and learning is considered not as sufficient for today’s children, thereby integrating these skills through their play experience is highly advisable. So, for example, you can give a situation where they can learn math, science, social and motor skills by engaging them in a “post office” activity. Through this, they will have to design a model of a post office, construct the post office, use paint to color the boxes used in construction and add seals and symbols for the US Postal Service. They can also write their messages in a letter, sort mail, weigh letters and packages, count out stamps and money and deliver mail on foot or in trucks. Also, this type of activities will give them an enjoyable experience.
School readiness is all about how a child interacts with other children and adults. This will be observed in their reaction to things, either positively and negatively. They are not meant to be pressured and instill strong competitive skills at a very young age. There is always an appropriate time to learn new things, including academic qualifications. We must give our children the most important gift of all – an enjoyable childhood.