Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Now that I am 17 1/2 years into child rearing and into my second year of teaching those cute little chubby fingers in my preschool classes; I have some opinions about early education. Now, granted, this is my opinion so take it for what may but there are probably a few out there who may also agree with me. This opinion probably has changed a bit over the years and really takes watching your first born go from womb to graduation. Watching my children's journey in education has inspired me in my preschool teaching and what these little ones really need to succeed in their primary education.

Everyone will learn their ABC's at a certain time in their life, barring disabilities of course. They will be able to count to 20, recite their colors and label shapes. It will happen if they aren't already there by 3. So many measure their little ones success and intelligence by what they know at 3 and worry way too much if those milestones aren't met. What I have learned is that the pre-school years should be focusing on getting ready to learn. Of course, learning academia at this age is also important but a huge focus should be on learning how to learn.

For instance, if a child lacks obedience for authority, ability to hold still and focus or inspiration to learn, they won't be nearly as teachable. If a child is allowed to run the show and dictate their every wish; that will carry into their education. If they lack manners or social skills, education and friendships will also suffer.
Therefor, these early "pre-school" years should be focused heavily on shaping these little primary students to be. If they come out of it knowing how to read ahead of the game and are the smartest cookie in the class; great! However, the most important thing is that they are ready to learn. They become ready to learn by holding still when it is required, being polite, respecting authority, being attentive, being obedient. When these are mastered, everything else will fall into place. Not everyone is a rocket scientist. We all come with different levels of intelligence but social skills and manners will make up the difference. Guaranteed.

Teaching these skills takes patience and diligence. It means not letting the little ones run the show. It means not giving up when it doesn't go smoothly. This can be done in a sweet but firm manner. I run my preschool like this and somehow, they all love me despite my rules. I expect them to listen, to be polite and to follow the rules of kindness. It is a learning process so it does take repetition. So many times it is easier to let the little ones get what they want so we don't have to endure the fight but this will only carry on to bigger things in life. You need to nip it in the bud early on.

I get to see lots of little personalities. I get warned by moms of their child's precociousness and stubbornness. I sort of like these challenges. It really doesn't take very long to get them in the groove of things. They learn the rules quite well since there really isn't an option for them. It can be done without time outs and belittling. 

Every child is different. Some are born with more ants in their pants than the others. Every mom can testify to that. However, I am a firm believer that each and every one of them can learn all the skills they need to be successful in the classroom. That is true for the typical child as well as those with special needs. Just a little more patience is involved. This must start in the home as early as can be. Children really do best with rules. 

For me, I feel that if my preschoolers graduate from my class with nothing else than learning to sit still when asked, saying "please" and "thank you" without being prompted, sharing and being kind to each other, respecting my authority and following the rules; my job has been done. Of course, it is great if they can learn the basic preschool academia as well but that is done over and over again the next few years of school.

Just my thoughts but for my children, I think this has worked. Even my little Tater with autism is an extremely obedient little one for his teachers. Not always for mom but he respects his teacher. He follows rules like their wasn't an option. I know by learning this early, this principle has blessed my children's lives. I thank the teachers who have persisted to teach this to my children and have not let them get away with things. I thank the teachers who have made learning fun and creative. 

Children need to be inspired and that means they need to be allowed to be creative and hands on. Just one fun thing before I end this sermon ; the picture above is something we do often for snack time. Toothpicks; love them! It makes snack time fun and educational. On this day, I gave them toothpicks, Cheerios and raisins. We were learning patterns so I would tell them how many cheerios and raisins to pattern. They loved it and it was much more entertaining than writing it out on paper. It also teaches them to sit and focus and to develop a better pincher grip. Just a little idea to pass along.

Thanks for listening.

P.S. I have ordered some extra immune boosting supplements and allergy pills for those who missed my order today. First come, first serve.


Tracey said...

Just this past Sunday I witnessed all 5 of your children sitting in sacrament meeting all by themselves without a peep and no parents! Taylor and I both watched and commented, completely amazed, at the control Bryant and Randi had over their 3 little brothers! You have great kids and need to pat yourself on the back. You guys have done a great job with those kids. We were impressed.

I seriously don't know if I would dare send my 5 kids to church by themselves....

Great post and so true!

Jill said...

Thank you for this post. I am heading into a low-income kindergarten as a substitute today. I feel like this gives me a little perspective just in case they aren't all little angels, today.
Those early lessons are so important.

Shari Goodman said...

Thanks, Tracey. I told them I had spies in the audience to tell me their every move! Kidding of course but glad you were keeping an eye on them. They did so well while I was gone that they proved I actually can leave them! They have never been alone without a parent. They even said it was fun. Glad to know they can live without me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
My 2 yr 2month old son started Daycare 9 hours a week 2 weeks ago and he's already been sick twice :(
What supplements and frequency and quantity do you recommend to help his immune system keep bugs away and then once I noticed he actually picked up a bug what do you recommend to add for someone his age?

Thanks so much!

Nora L

Shari Goodman said...

Little ones, even infants can have the liquid D3 drops to boost the immune system and vitamin c for one year olds and up. I give it to my kids daily during cold and flu season in addition to eating well. Once they do get a bug, I use all sorts of things. It is good to have a few tricks in the cupboard: elderberry extract, goldenseal, spice of life oil (my favorite), Allimax (garlic), etc. You can get them all in liquid so you can just put it in their juice or smoothie. If my kids ever start to get a bug, it never sticks around more than the day. I swear by it all!

M&N said...

Agreed! I think manners and respect are so important. I also LOVE the toothpicks. I will be borrowing that wonderful idea of yours as well. Thanks

Kerri said...

I love and appreciate all that you are doing for my little one in your pre-school. She is truly enjoying herself and I know she is in such good care! Thanks for all you do!