QUESTION 1: What do you think about 3 year-olds going to a pre-school program? I’m considering it for next fall – 9am – noon two days a week. B is an only child thus far. She spends little time with kids her own age as her local cousins are much older and playdates just aren’t as frequent as I’d like them to be.
This is a question, that I myself have had to mull over in the last couple of months. I have had SO MANY parents ask me what Preschool I have Evan enrolled in. As if it is assumed that Evan must be in preschool, since I am a teacher. If you are new to the blog, Evan is 2 and half. Then the second question most parents ask me after I inform them that he isn't in preschool yet is "When will you be putting him in Preschool". In my well-educated voice, I say, "I don't know!"
I don't know when he will be ready. I do know he wasn't ready this year. I will reevaluate the situation next summer and see whether he is ready or not. But I also have the luxury of being at home with him during the day, so I know that I am "teaching" him what he would be learning in Preschool.
Now that I have made preschool sound less appealing, I will go on the record and say that there are many benefits of Preschool that are worth looking into:
- Socialization - I think most parents agree with this one. Kids need to be around other kids. We are all social beings, that is how God made us, and kids are no different. But keep in mind that if you are in play groups and extracurriculars (gymnastics, soccer, local recreation center classes) all count for great exposure to other kids.
- Schedule - I think one of the most important roles preschool holds is getting your kids used to a more concrete schedule and a schedule that is not all about them, ESPECIALLY if your child is an only child or a younger child whose siblings are in school. And it starts them out a little easier with a couple days a week versus a full week as they would get in Kindergarten.
- Diversity - Maybe you feel confident in teaching reading, so your child is a wonderful reader. But what about Art or Math? Preschool can supplement what you may not do well. Not that you shouldn't try to work on other activities, but let's face it, if we aren't that great in something, do you go out of your way to teach your child that topic. I know I don't. Fortunately, Jeremy LOVES to do the Arts with the boys and the boys grandparents add much more diverse activities into their lives. But many parents don't have that luxury (or patience) to work on EVERYTHING with their kids. So I feel Preschool is a great supplement!
Now to answer the part of the question on when to send your child to preschool. At 3 and half, I feel that 2 days a week for a total of 6 hours, is a great experience for your child. I, personally wouldn't do much more than that, at 3 and half but others may disagree with me and that's cool. I would definitely get my child into a preschool program at least the year before they start Kindergarten.
Remember, and I know I have said this too many times, BUT you know your children BEST. And you know when they are ready. Don't be pressured to put them in earlier or later, just because your friends are doing it or your parents have suggested it. FYI, my mom put me in preschool the year before I started Kindergarten. I lasted no more than a week. Apparently I hated it and it stressed me out. I wasn't ready and my mom made the decision to pull me out. I then started Kindergarten the following year without any problems.
And always make sure you do your homework, on what type of Preschool will work best for your child. That is a whole other topic that can be discussed at a later time. But the point is don't force it, if your child isn't ready, don't force it. Don't assume that by a certain age, they MUST be in preschool. Some are ready at 2 and half and others not ready until 4 and half and some kids go straight to Kindergarten without blinking an eye! You know your child best!
QUESTION 2: What is the Importance of Music in the Understanding of Math
Did you know that Music can build Math skills? Not just music, though! Music lessons. By starting a child in piano lessons at the age of 3, you are building math skills that will build for success in math later on in school. More specifically, piano lessons build spatial awareness. A simple definition of spatial awareness is how things fit together. Geometry is heavy in spatial awareness, but also puzzles and directions etc. An added benefit of better Spatial Awareness skills, it also plays a super important role in sports. How your body moves smoothly and the ability to not run into objects, is also spatial awareness.
Scientists don't know exactly why this is, but study after study has confirmed that music lessons with preschoolers increase test scores in Math (later in school), specifically in spatial awareness.
Don't know where to get music lessons for toddlers? Here are a few suggestions:
- Call your local music stores. If they don't have music lessons, someone there probably can get you in contact with someone who does do them.
- Secondly, call your church. I took piano lessons when I was a child from the piano player at church. He was in the Air Force, but loved teaching piano during the evenings!
- Call your local Recreation Centers. They may offer group classes for beginners, and/or can give you names of those who teach lessons.
- Ask around. Don't be afraid to ask other parents!
- Ask a music teacher. I know many music teachers give lessons after school. And again, if the teacher you ask doesn't, I guarentee they know someone who does.
Finding music lessons for toddlers can be challenging and require some time and patience but the benefits pay off in the long run. My Evan is turning 3 in January and I will be starting my search now.
**Update** - I received this comment from Sarah (Musical Mommy) that I thought was important enough to add to the post so no one would over look it in the comment section. Thanks Sarah for the valid points and the link!!
I just wanted to add one thing in about how to find music lessons...
The number one concern with most parents looking for music lessons is safety. Your child is now going to interact with a teacher and you must make sure that teacher is safe, reliable and trustworthy. By relying on word of mouth alone, you may not find exactly what you are looking for.
You should definitely check out www.takelessons.com in your search for Evan's music lessons. TakeLessons is a national music lesson provider with safe, certified teachers. All teachers have had background and reference checks. TakeLessons stands by their teachers and if you have a less than perfect experience, they will work with you until you find the best fit. I highly recommend them and hope you will add them to your list :)
So this week, what I want to hear from y'all is two-fold. When did you start your kids in preschool and was it a positive or negative experience? And do your kids take music lessons? If so, what kind and when did you start them?
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