This article will focus on what children should be taught in
the first years of school which include pre-kindergarten,
kindergarten and the early grades in primary school.
A whole host of constituencies are in the process of preparing
children as young as 4 or 5 years of age for the new world of
formal schooling. Parents greet the advent of school for
toddlers with enthusiasm because taking children out of the
home for a half day or more means a respite from caregiving.
For most children, pre-kindergarten or even kindergarten means
an introduction to peers and a whole new experience of interaction,
compromise, argumentation and personal involvement beyond
watching television, playing outside or milling around the house.
Children need an introduction into a formal classroom setting
with the usual academic tools like building blocks, crayons,
educational toys, flash cards, arts and crafts and readings by the
teacher or local librarian.
Beyond the formal academics, children need a firm grounding
in the relevant behavioral dimensions for the learning
experience. And so, children may interact in small groups
in order to learn the fundamentals of cooperation, listening
skills, critical thinking and constructive argument or criticism.
To be successful academically, children will need to set
boundaries at home and with their relatives and friends
once they leave school. Part of the learning experience is
the assignment of quality homework to be done by all
students. To complete the learning cycle involving
assigned homeworks, children must set boundaries
with everyone outside of school.
Without boundary-setting, children cannot do homeworks
or complete the cycle of learning transfer which begins in the
classroom and is confirmed, as a result of formal in-class tests
as students progress through the lower grades.
Once students leave school and go home, they are confronted
with all sorts of demands on their time. These demands can
involve students in chores, shopping, medical appointments, outside
visitors, phone calls, text messaging and other things which
quickly take time away from doing homework to complement
the learning introduction begun in school.
And so, students need to rehearse the relevant behaviors which
are requisite for turning back a constant stream of requests which
tie-up their time and limit the opportunities to finish assignments
begun earlier in school. The relevant behavioral responses require
that students assert themselves at home so that there is time to
complete homeworks and projects.
Another important condition precedent is a quiet environment so
that learning and deep concentration can take place. Parents
should be instructed to set aside a quiet spot in the home so that
children can complete assigned homeworks unimpeded by
outside noise. In some cases, parents may find it easier to take children
to the local library or school library, if necessary.
Before academics can be attempted in any meaningful way, students
must learn to concentrate and work independently in quiet
surroundings. Then, they can think clearly about assignments in
all of their academic subjects.
Many school districts throughout the United States teach subjects
in English. In districts having bi-lingual students, the attainment of a
consistent curriculum content is more difficult due to language
There are new technologies available to teach any language
quickly. For instance, Pimsleur guarantees a basic core fluency in just
10 days. Rosetta Stone has a good program of language instruction,
as well as others in the field. School districts need to utilize the most
up-to-date language teaching models so that all students can achieve
a basic competence in the early grades. Otherwise, students risk
getting to college with a very weak foundation to tackle the more advanced
In summary, the early grades from pre-kindergarten onward represent an
ideal time to introduce students to learning, the optimal setting for
learning, boundary setting and the fundamentals of the host language.
With the passage of time, students may lose the opportunity to learn these
life skills comprehensively. The stakes are high at the outset and the
passage of time only makes the task of teaching the basics harder and more
expensive to achieve.
Credits: First Listed on Blogcritics
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