Should preschoolers have homework?

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on March 13, 2011

in Bam Radio Series on Early Childhood Education, Homework in Preschool, The Value of Play

This is the question being asked on the latest BAM Radio Network show that I commentated on: “Should You Be Assigning Homework in Preschool?” by Rae Pica along with Etta Kralovec and Dr. Ann Barbour.

Go and take a listen to the show and see what you think!

Before you answer this question consider this…

These two boys are at play with large pattern blocks…

They are exploring patterns and shapes and how they fit together to create the train….

They are learning how to cooperate, collaborate, take turns, listen to each other’s ideas, follow directions, and adapt where needed to build their train…

While building the train, the children are reinforcing their recognition of shapes and colors…

The process of creating this train requires some trial and error, problem solving, and plenty of floor space to spread out their work…

They are building more than just a train, they are also building a friendship as they work together and play together…

Can you package all of these wonderful elements of learning into a single assignment and send it home as homework?

 

My random thoughts on homework for preschoolers…

In all of my years of teaching preschoolers, I have never sent home homework.  At least not the kind of homework where a child is expected to complete an activity then return it to school for some type of reward, grade, or accountability.

For children in full time preschool or childcare programs, I think that after a long day at school what they need most is time relaxing and interacting with with mom and dad. The preschool years are an important time for bonding with parents and their time time together should be respected.

If you are wanting to provide any kind of “homework” let me suggest these everyday activities that parents can do at home to help their child build the skills their child needs to be successful in while in school.

What kinds of activities can parents do at home to help their preschooler be successful in preschool? Here are a few simple ideas…

  • Promote independence by helping your preschooler develop skills such as dressing himself, washing hands, going potty, putting on coats, and feeding himself.
  • Build communication skills by talking with your preschooler often and encouraging your preschooler to ask questions or express his views on topics.
  • Promote an interest in literacy by reading with your preschooler- read simple books, signs in the grocery store, the back of a cereal box, street signs, and so on.
  • Promote social skills by inviting friends over so your preschooler will develop their ability to share, work out conflicts, and play positively with his or her peers.
  • Promote decision making skills by letting your child choose from a menu at a restaurant.
  • Promote problem solving skills by letting your child figure out how to open a container or how to do other things without your help.
  • Promote organizational skills by letting your child put away his own toys.
This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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