When 3 to 5 year kids go to preschool, parents have different expectations from them. Some parents expect their children to be involved in educational activities or “real learning”. Educational activities are related to formal school-based learning such as writing, reading and learning their numbers.
Parents are reported to be concerned if they visit their friend’s home and see their friend’s child bring home worksheets (for example, dot-to-dot their name, Easter egg dyeing or other adult-directed products) from their childhood center. They may worry that their child is being left behind because their child is “just playing” and not involved in actual learning.
Other parents focus on keeping their children safe and secure in a stimulating environment where children make choices about what they will play. An educational environment is supported by teachers who respond to the child and socialize the child’s play.
This milestone checklist includes five domains of education, linked to curriculum and national quality standards:
- Language development.
The checklist indicates what a child should be able to do up to a certain age and this is linked to the early childhood curriculum.
Research has shown that sports-based programs, which include activities such as block building, are more likely than children’s programs to focus on the educational performance of young children.
Early childhood education curriculum emphasizes the importance of play-based learning and research shows that children’s learning is higher in play-based programs than in educational-focused childhood programs.
Parent-teacher relationships are important
Teachers need to be able to explain their approach to children’s learning to parents at the very beginning of the child’s / family’s entry into the center and strengthen it as the child learns and develops.
Both the curriculum and national quality standards focus on teachers with “partnership with families.” But if children disagree on what and how to learn, the partnership between parents and teachers will not develop and will not last.
Parents need to be constantly informed about the education program at the center. There must be a correlation between what parents expect their child to learn in a preschool with the education program provided, and with a play-based approach for children.
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