Our new year resolutions in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on December 27, 2011

in New Year resolutions, New Years

Understanding the concept of time is still very much a challenge for preschoolers.  So getting the children to understand the term “resolution” then dictate a “new year resolution” is an even bigger challenge…

Each day, we introduce our calendar and weather board.  I do not expect my students to grasp all the concepts that go along with time but I like to familiarize them with the different terms such as the days of the week, the months of the year, and so on.  Right up until we left for winter break, my students have called every single month so far “September.”  I am not sure why they are stuck on September but every time I ask them “What month of the year is it?”  All the children shout, “September!”

I was trying to describe what a resolution is. I told the children that it is something we would like to start doing or something we would like to change about ourselves in the future.  For the most part, the children didn’t really care about making a resolution. But they did like making a party hat!

Personally, I almost never make resolutions. So why I even asked my students to make one is beyond me.  But it did get me to thinking that for future reference we should start learning about setting simple, short-term goals and achieving those goals. Clearly, making a resolution for the new year was a little over their heads and not all that meaningful to them. But, of course, I asked anyway – just to see what kind of answers they might come up with…

I got answers such as…

  • Sit in Nana’s hot tub in the spring.
  • Go swimming in the pool in the summer.
  • Have a pinata birthday party.
  • Exercise with my aunt.

The children did use words like “summer, spring, fall” which tells me that the seasons are meaningful to them and that they relate seasons to the concept of time.  When a concept is meaningful to young children, they will apply that concept in a way that is meaningful to them.  I think the four seasons have meaning because the children can experience each season through the changes of clothing, weather, activities, and so forth. But the change in time, day, or year is a very abstract concept.  So we may continue to talk about the days, months, and even the new year ahead but it will only be when the children are developmentally ready that they will begin to find the concept of time meaningful.

 

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