Did you attend preschool? If so, how old were you, and what do you remember learning?
What are your memories of the preschool years before kindergarten, and looking back, how do you feel about the experience?
In a May 30 article, “Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools,” Dana Goldstein writes:
A group of students at Woodside Community School in Queens peered up at their teacher one morning this month, as she used an overhead projector to display a shape.It looked like a basic geometry lesson one might find in any grade school, except for the audience: They were preschoolers, seated cross-legged on a comfy rug.“What attributes would tell me this is a square?” asked the teacher, Ashley Rzonca.A boy named Mohammed raised his hand, having remembered these concepts from a previous lesson. “A square has four angles and four equal sides,” he said.As school reformers nationwide push to expand publicly funded prekindergarten and enact more stringent standards, more students are being exposed at ever younger ages to formal math and phonics lessons like this one. That has worried some education experts and frightened those parents who believe that children of that age should be playing with blocks, not sitting still as a teacher explains a shape’s geometric characteristics.But now a new national study suggests that preschools that do not mix enough fiber into their curriculum may be doing their young charges a disservice.The study found that by the end of kindergarten, children who had attended one year of “academic-oriented preschool” outperformed peers who had attended less academic-focused preschools by, on average, the equivalent of two and a half months of learning in literacy and math.“Simply dressing up like a firefighter or building an exquisite Lego edifice may not be enough,” said Bruce Fuller, the lead author of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. “If you can combine creative play with rich language, formal conversations and math concepts, that’s more likely to yield the cognitive gains we observed.”