October 21, 2012
In regard to The Advocate’s article titled “State to overhaul pre-K”:
Preschool should be a time for children to foster a love and desire for learning while developing social skills. This can only be done through constructive play and investigations that are based on the child’s interests while directed by the teacher.
However, because of recent decisions made by today’s policymakers, preschool will become a time for making children “kindergarten ready.” But what does “kindergarten ready” really mean? Policymakers are planning to implement standards and letter grades for preschool children. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Development and learning proceed at varying rates from child to child, as well as at uneven rates across different areas of a child’s individual functioning.”
Teachers need to treat their students with the understanding that no child is at the same cognitive, social, emotional, or physical level. No child comes to school with the same amount of exposure to stimulating, educational content. Because of these varying developmental rates, are there really standards that can be put in place for all 3- and 4-year-olds to achieve? Is failing children who were not exposed to this content on someone else’s accord the way to get children to fall in love with school?
Preschool and kindergarten teachers are constantly administering tests that are developmentally inappropriate for children; therefore, the tests are an unreliable indicator of the child’s knowledge. If teachers spent less time dispensing these tests, they would have more time for intervention with the children who are behind and more time challenging the children who are ahead. Throughout the year, teachers should assess every child separately on his or her individual academic gains, as this substantial growth is the true indicator of preschool and kindergarten success.
Before these politicians make decisions that affect the futures of our children, they should familiarize themselves with NAEYC’s position statement on school readiness at http://www.naeyc.org/positionstatements/school_readiness.
early childhood education student at LSU