Published at Saturday, 04 May 2019. Worksheet. By Helaine Perret.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to teach kids to sit for a few minutes and complete a simple pencil-and-paper assignment. And for young kids, I mean it when I say “a few minutes.” Thirty minutes is not a few. Worksheets might be a useful assessment tool. If your child is doing a worksheet on a learned skill, you might see what he understands and what you need to revisit. In the early childhood community, however, some educators believe that worksheets are inappropriate for this age level and may not tell you what a student truly understands. My kids like them. Wait, doesn’t this contradict a point I made above? Not really. If my kids want to sit at the table while I’m making dinner and do a few worksheets, I don’t have a problem with that. It can be relaxing for them. It’s not a replacement for other learning because I wouldn’t be teaching right then anyway… and I don’t have the space or time to set up a big hands-on learning center while the stove is on, the baby is crying, and the toddler is hanging on my leg.
Hands on manipulation of objects, gives children the opportunity to create hypothesis, test them out, and use their problem solving and critical thinking skills to completely understand how it works. This is more towards workbooks, especially if you follow the workbook page by page. Just because the workbook says it’s for 3 year olds, does not mean your child is ready for it. Related: What to Teach My Preschooler and When to Teach It. It’s best to teach your child based on their interests and signs of readiness. A workbook does not allow room for every child’s unique growth and development sequence. This is a huge one for me. When I taught in the public schools, we were told to get kids to think for themselves and defend their answers. But, their answers and evidence must match the teacher’s guide and test answer key. Really? How is it possible to get a child to think for themselves and defend their position, but also be correct 100% of the time according to an answer key?. It’s just not possible! I look at it this way, if a child can defend their answer to any question using evidence then it’s correct whether the answer key says so or not. In 20 years, do we want people running this country who only know how to give one answer, or do we want people who can be creative and think outside the box?
The foundations for our social relationships are laid in the early years (Kostelnik, Stein, Whiren, & Soderman, 1993). This is the time when we discover the roles we may play, the rules for getting along in society, the consequences for not following rules, and how to make friends. The only way to learn these concepts is to engage actively with others. When we do not allow children enough time to accomplish fundamental social tasks, we set the stage for social problems later on. Middle and high schools cope daily with antisocial behaviors that in some cases reach the point of violence. If we expect adolescents to know how to work and live with others, and solve problems peacefully, we would do well to begin the process when children are young.
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