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How Much Do You Expect of Your 3 1/2 Y,o in Re; to School?

My son is 3 1/2 and is going to pre-school. I think he is doing really well. Knows the usual ABC's, shapes colors, etc. And is begining to start to write his name. How much is normal at this age in regards to recognizing letters and numbers. He can only recognize the letters in his own name and no others? Just curious how hard to push him.

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Thant is more than enough academics for a preschooler. I know because I taught K-1 for 13 years.

Are you taking him outside of the school so he can learn about his environment? Grass, trees, bugs, getting muddy, etc---that is the beginning of science.

Does he get enough time just to play with kids with out having to learn about something? That is as important as his ABC's.

How about climbing and swing sets? That is the beginning of PE. Strong body, strong mind.

I guess I am saying is a well balanced child at this age should have many interests, and I wouldn't put emphasis on the academics. He'll will have 13 years of academics do spend of him.

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Thant is more than enough academics for a preschooler. I know because I taught K-1 for 13 years.

Are you taking him outside of the school so he can learn about his environment? Grass, trees, bugs, getting muddy, etc---that is the beginning of science.

Does he get enough time just to play with kids with out having to learn about something? That is as important as his ABC's.

How about climbing and swing sets? That is the beginning of PE. Strong body, strong mind.

I guess I am saying is a well balanced child at this age should have many interests, and I wouldn't put emphasis on the academics. He'll will have 13 years of academics do spend of him.

3 moms found this helpful

I am a preschool teacher and have my degree in Early Childhood ed. Preschool is about much more than academics. Preschool is where children learn social skills, self-esteem, classroom behavior, feeling part of a group, problem solving, small muscle development to get ready for writing, sitting during a story and following along etc. The "reading, writing and arithmatic" is an added bonus. Children are not expected to know their abcs until kindergarten. In my class I do teach them the alphabet so that they have that knowledge to build upon but I don't push it on them. Too much pressure on a child before they are ready can cause them to loose confidence when they make mistakes. This may cause them not to want to try again later.

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I know exactly how you feel. Last summer I was in a panic trying to find the 'perfect' preschool to shape my 3 year old. I wanted the "BEST" to make him the smartest kid ever. Then reality hit. I went to check out some of the schools on the Best List and was shocked to discover that how hard 3 and 4 year olds were being pushed to learn learn learn.

I actually asked one of the owners of a school, "When does he eat paste?" I started thinking, my son is only 3, when does he get to have fun? Your son sounds like he is spot on as far as the learning curve. Let him enjoy being a preschool student. Let him enjoy "eating the paste."

I understand the desire for us as parents to have the best child out there, but what at what expense? It think it is more important for children to develop social skills which, makes the learning process so much easier. A child that can be surrounded by a group of children all squirming in their chairs and biting on their pencils, but still remained focused on the task at hand, will go excel once the real world sets in.

Just my thoughts.

Best to you.

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Sounds like he's right on target academically. But at this age what's more important is for him to learn how to socialize/play: share, take turns, navigate social problems, interact with peers, etc. It's good to expose young children to reading, writing, letters, numbers, ideas, etc.; but, like potty training, eventually he'll learn the academic part. First there needs to be a solid social foundation to work from. I agree with most of the others in that a 3 1/2 yo doesn't need to be pushed to learn. He's learning tons already.
Good luck.

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I agree with Melissa. Do not push him at all. It's not good for the child. These years are the only time he gets to be a child. Competition comes later. Actually, I think too much is expected of the grade school child. Society is not letting children be children. I think that some teen rebellion is the result of being expected to grow up too fast. That's another topic. :)

Your son is doing well. I'm glad to read that you think so too. Don't worry about whether or not your child is the brightest in the classroom. Children learn at different rates depending on the maturity of their brain. We cannot control the rate the brain develops.

We can provide a learning environment as Michelle B describes. I'd add that your child will learn without the electronic toys if you can't afford them.

I also think your son is doing well. He's at or near the same level as my Granddaughter was at that age. She was in preschool, too. There were a few kids ahead of her and several behind her. What they know when they enter kindergarten is not as important as their wanting to learn.

One of my friends is a 1-3rd grade teacher. She said that when kids watch the educational TV programs and have electronic learning aids they are frequently more difficult to teach once they get to school. The child has come to expect the dramatic. They get bored easily.
That's not to say that you shouldn't provide those for your child but should keep that in mind.

I wish I'd not let my grandaughter watch so many educational programs and spent more time coloring with her and exposing her to workbook sheets. I found several at an educational store in Mall 205 but I didn't follow thru and use them. Costco also has them. Her mother worked and I was the babysitter.

My grandson has something like LeapFrog. He played with it for a couple of weeks before he stopped being interested. No one played with him on the electronic toy. My daughter saw it as a way to keep him entertained. Spending time with your child helping him to learn is essential in my opinion. And perhaps that's what you meant by pushing him.

I suggest that you have the next level in mind but not try to teach it until he's interested in it. My granddaughter was so proud she could print her name. She insisted on signing herself in at preschool. She gradually learned to recognize letters during the next year. I read her books in which letters were a part of the story. I think Tiki Tiki Boom was one of them. A part of our reading time was her focusing on the letter and trying to name it. We had fun doing this.

Keep up the positive attitude of knowing your son is doing well. Provide him with learning opportunities and always make learning fun.

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C.,

Don't push him at all. All we can do as parents is provide the opportunities and see if they'll take them or not. My son is 5 1/2 and we have never sat down with him at X time everyday for education. We have, however, provided educational material that he could look through, or not, as he chose. We got him the Leapfrog Leapster handheld game system when he turned 4. It has a lot of educational games and various grade levels, and levels within the game itself.
We read to him whenever he asked, and still try to read to him now.

He taught himself to read at 4 1/2. He can do almost any single numbers addition in his head/fingers. He can identify any number under 1,000 on sight. He'll be starting kindergarten in September.

They're little for such a short time. Let them BE little and enjoy the wonders of their bright new world. Answer his questions honestly. Let him be a kid.

My hubby and I are amazed at how book-smart my son is, have never pushed him to do anything and have never regretted for a day our decision to take our lead from him.

Hope this helps,
M.

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What a smart Mom, C. ---. I have several responses:
( and I'm a preschool teacher who'se prepared hundreds of
kids for kindergarten for 40 years )
1. the standards for Kindergarden entry have radically
altered overthe last decade-- to the REAL detriment
of children - K teachers now want children to be able
recognize printed letters and #s --- all alphabet
letters and #s to at least 10 ---- and to be able
to look at a group of 4---10 objects and actually
count them AND print their first name AND
know many letter sounds -- it's crazy. ( I grant
you that many children can do most of those things
if they watch a lot of good quality kids tv an/or
have parents who coach them along in a gentle fun
way ---- BUT children are not created by cookie
cutter and we've come to a time when some children
feel like failures who don't cut it at FIVE YEARS OF
AGE -- that is obscene and counter -productive - its'
one of many reasons behaviour problems are soaring
---if we teach a child they can't cut it- why should
they try?- they'll just act up. It's awful WE as
parents need to push back hard for Emergent Literacy
( which allows children to learn through their own
interests and incliniation ---) ---sorry for the lecture.

There are GREAT sites on-line that will allow you to have your child play and learn - just type in free preschool educational site---

Blessings,
J. aka- Old Mom

3 moms found this helpful

It sounds like your son is one of the lucky boys who can learn symbologically at an early age without damaging his neurological development--I'd agree that, he is doing really well! Congratulations :).

Please consider not "pushing" him, though. Really, if a parent has a chance to stop and step back from the messages of society, it becomes obvious that children are naturally eager learners ... and that we even use the terms "push" and "compulsory schooling," as if they were natural to how children are, should tell us something is wrong with our picture ... if we are having to compel them to learn, the system and its assumptions for the children are deeply in error. Children LOVE to learn. It's what they deeply want and utterly NEED to do ... if they are fighting it, there is a reason. Kids want to be loved, and they want to grow up into healthy adult people ...

... and not that I haven't (and don't) sometimes force my kids to learn a thing (a behavior, mostly) ... but I wince, because I know that in a healthier society, a healthier family, and a healthier ME, they would be learning by exploration and by imitation (of my wonderful self, you know, ha ha ha *groan*), and there would be no "pushing" of adult agendas. Kids want to be grown up--they push themselves ;)! (Sometimes they push themselves too hard--I have to hold my kids back in some arenas, when they hear society's pressures or get caught up in the fun of something they find enjoyable but that is not safe for them or those around them.)

I have a bunch of related stuff to say about neurological development and the horrors of the assumptions behind standard American education ;) ... but again, it sounds like you and your little guy are among the lucky, so I won't bore you with all that ;).

My third is learning to write her name ... it is so darn cute :)!! I'm interested to see how form drawing goes for her, because she makes everything curve together ... no sharp corners ... but that's a topic for another day :).

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