Beginning Again: Preschool

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It is constantly amazing to me how different the children are from one another! To be sure, there are a great many things that are remarkably similar and few people who looked at them would have any doubts that they are related. Still when it comes to learning styles and interests they are each unique.

I was reminded of this recently as I was evaluating the preschool work I am doing with Bull. With the older two I had just worked my way through a series of workbooks from Rod and Staff, supplementing with some extra art projects, puzzles, and cheap workbooks picked up at Walmart (mostly for fun or to keep them occupied). I had been taking the same approach with Bull but began to realize around Christmas that he was neither learning as much as I wanted him to, nor enjoying school as much as I thought a bright, curious little boy should.

There are at least three things that are immediately obviously different to me about him:

He is much more coordinated and active than either of the other two were at his age. He runs, jumps, practicing falling (which I really need to get a video of) and is generally never still. While he can concentrate on things (his toy piano, legos etc.) he would rather be moving.

He is less verbal than either of the other two at this age. That is- his understood vocabulary is excellent, but his speech is not very clear, and he struggles to put his ideas into words. He can do it, but not quickly and he is frustrated by this and somewhat self-conscious that we often cannot understand him. We may well be looking into speech therapy for him as this seems to be a physical issue not a mental one.

He is extremely people oriented and explains his world through narrative not physics. He would rather be doing something with someone than be by himself and if no one is available he will make up someone (usually his bear)to be his companion. He will then involve Bear or his sibling in the story that is going on in his head. Where Buggle and Mouse made “food” on the toy kitchen in an experimental way (what would happen if I did this? Would it be like what Mama does? Can I remember and approximate all of the steps in making sausage using my stuffed animals and blocks?) Bull cooks for me or for Bear in order to please us and take care of us. He doesn’t care that much about how realistic the food looks- his imagination supplies what is missing- he wants our reactions and our approval so that the “story” will end well.

All of this means that a preschool program that is primarily analytically based workbooks is just not a natural fit for him. He needs an approach with many more manipulatives and much more narrative framework. I think I have found just that and will post about it tomorrow.

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4 Responses to Beginning Again: Preschool

  1. Kay Malone says:

    Sounds like a Montessori approach or Waldorf(?) approach is what you are needing? Not an expert, just an educated observation. Looking forward to what you have found that might work. My granddaughter Cloe has done well in Waldorf. One school I was counselor for had a Montessori school attached…

    • Chacha says:

      I homeschool my kids (2nd grade, 1st grade, prcsehool, and a toddler) this will be the first year my 3 year old will be doing actual school stuff, and I’m wondering how to keep the toddler occupied as well. Last year I found that my 3 year old (who is starting prcsehool this year) was often content to sit at the table with the rest of us with a big stack of paper and some markers. She felt like she was doing school too. I also have a bin of special puzzles and toys that only come out at school time. That worked well last year for both the 2 and 3 year old, and I hope it works its magic again. I make little puzzles (alphabet puzzles, simple animal puzzles) and put magnets on the back of the pieces, then stick them to the fridge. The little ones can happily do the magnet puzzles and play with magnetic letters in our kitchen, while we do school in the dining room still close enough to keep an eye on everyone, but enough separation to reduce distractions.It’s definitely a balancing act, and some days nothing really works, but that’s the homeschooling life for you, I guess

      • K_Steinmann says:

        One thing I have found that makes a big difference is to keep the school sessions short (20-30 minutes) and to work with my preschooler first while the older children do something they can do on their own (penmanship for example). That way he feels like he has gotten my attention and will then go play for a bit. I will also stagger the older children’s breaks so that one plays with him while I work with the other on more difficult subjects. And some days don’t go so well, but by having a set of stuff in my mind to handle days like that they go more smoothly. …K

  2. Pingback: Beginning Again: Preschool Part 2 (Five Little Ducks) | Kyndra Steinmann

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