The longer I am involved in preschool and elementary education, the more I am convinced that our efforts with young students are among the most important and long-lasting. Recently a colleague sent me a link to a New York Times article that bolsters my own philosophy: that investing time, focus, and money in our children’s earliest years of schooling is crucial to their continued academic and life-long success.
In their first years of school, children establish their self-identity as learners. Based on their experiences with challenging situations and new information, as well as the feedback they receive from adults and their peers, they decide—in the most basic sense—whether they are “good students” …or not.
If a student decides, because the school-work is confusing, boring, not connected to his experience of the world, etc., that he is a bad student, or that school is not relevant to him, then this concept of self and school will be difficult to change later in life, no matter how good his middle or high school may be. If, on the other hand, a young student is convinced that he is capable, shown that he is valued, and invited to engage in meaningful work every day at school, he will carry this concept of self and school with him into each new environment. Students who are ready and excited to engage in the activities of school can jump right into those pursuits, without first having to wrestle with the decision of whether school is important to them or not.
|Preschoolers participating in a balls and ramps science unit|
Routines of mind and body also begin to solidify at a very young age. We all know how hard it can be to break bad habits and learn new ones as we get older! When young students learn the habits of paying attention when others are talking, taking turns, managing frustration, being patient and flexible when solving problems, reading quietly for extended periods (the list goes on and on), these skills propel them to be productive learners in the future, both inside and outside of the classroom. Meanwhile, the child who fails to develop and value such habits is at a disadvantage. Her future teachers will need to devote valuable instructional time to dealing with and correcting behaviors in order to teach basic learning skills.
So how do we help students gain a positive self-concept of themselves as learners and develop productive habits of mind and body? For starters, small class sizes are a must, in my opinion. Teachers need to be able to get to know students in-depth, to become intimately aware of their interests, skills, strengths and weaknesses. This is a crucial step toward ensuring that every student feels valued and understood. Small class sizes also allow teachers to respond to individual learning abilities in order to challenge each student appropriately.
Another issue is the ability of schools to build and teach curricula that are relevant and developmentally appropriate for the community they serve. Small and independent schools have the flexibility to tailor their programming to meet the needs of their particular students. National standards help frame skills that are essential for every learner to master, but teachers and administrators need the autonomy to determine the best ways to ensure that each student will be able to apply these skills in real life.
Finally, I believe that the most successful schools pay attention to—and intentionally program for—the development of social and emotional skills. Large institutions charged with meeting stringent testing requirements have little time to spend on character development and social skills practice… and too often, the time that is spent in these pursuits becomes another token exercise in covering, rather than internalizing, ideas that are essential to personal growth.
These are just some of the reasons I believe that a positive, carefully designed early educational program is vital to students’ future success. When parents ask me why they should spend money on a private elementary education, as opposed to saving for high school or college, these are the reasons I give. Our own students are both witness and testimony to the efficacy of our programs; they move easily and successfully into a variety of educational environments when they leave us, including public schools as well as small and large private schools. It is with pride and excitement that I watch them charge forward, driven by the positive concept of self and school that is a direct result of their experiences at Seneca Academy.
15601 Germantown Road
Darnestown, Maryland 20874
Phone: (301) 869-3728
Fax: (301) 869-3348
15601 Germantown Road
Darnestown, Maryland 20874
Phone: (301) 869-3728
Fax: (301) 869-3348
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Thanks for sharing this excellent blog! There were some amazing pointers in your blog such as ‘how hard it can be to break the bad habits and learn the new ones as we get older’. This one statement has the answer to the question in the blog’s title. However, it’s totally on parents that what kind of preschool, they are choosing for their kid. Does the preschool has all the required facilities? Are teachers capable of handling children? Is the preschool playground and curriculum safe for the child? All these questions need to be answered before enrolling a child in a preschool.ReplyDelete
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Discover a Surefire Method to Teach Your Child to ReadReplyDelete
There are many different methods and opinions on how to teach a child to read - while all are well-intentioned, some methods could actually lead to reading difficulties in children. Learning to read is a critical step towards future academic success and later on success in life. If you cannot read, you cannot succeed. There is an amazingly simple method - actually, a combination of two methods - that can teach anyone to read, even children as young as 2 and 3 years old.
The combination of these two methods has been used in the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach thousands of young children to read. So what are these methods?
It is the combination of synthetic phonics and phonemic awareness. Most have probably heard of phonics, but phonemic awareness is a concept less well known and ?it's not something you hear about often. Certainly, phonics is absolutely necessary to develop fluent reading skills; however, there are different types of phonics including embedded, analogy, analytical, and synthetic phonics. While using some type of phonics is better than not including any phonics instructions at all, you will achieve FAR BETTER results by employing synthetic phonics, which is by far the most easy and effective method for teaching reading. Multiple studies support this.
In a 7 year study conducted by the Scottish Education Department, 300 students were taught using either analytic phonics or synthetic phonics. The results found that the synthetic phonics group were reading 7 months ahead and spelling 8 to 9 months ahead of the other phonics groups. At the end of the 7 year study, the children were reading 3.5 years ahead of their chronological age.
Through their amazing reading program, the creators (Jim & Elena - parents of 4 children and reading teachers) have taught all of their children to read phonetically by 3 years old and have helped thousands of parents to successfully teach their children to read as well! Some are small 2 or 3 year old toddlers, others are young 4 or 5 year old preschoolers, and still others at ages 6, 7, 8 or even older.
>> Click here to watch amazing videos of young children reading, and see the amazing results so many parents are achieving with their children.
The Children Learning Reading program works so well that many children will achieve reading ages far ahead of their chronological age.
Take Jim & Elena's children as an example: their oldest child, Raine, was reading phonetically at 2 years 11 months old, and by the time she entered kindergarten at 5 years old, she was reading at a grade 5 level with a reading age of 11.9 years - almost 7 years ahead of her chronological age. Their second child, Ethan, learned to read phonetically by 2 years 9 months, and at age 3, he was reading at a grade 2 level with a reading age of 7.2 years - progressing at a similarly quick pace as his older sister. Find that hard to believe? You can watch the videos posted here.
There are many different phonics programs out there, but rarely do you ever hear a mention of phonemic awareness (PA), and PA is absolutely an equally critical component to developing reading skills in children. What makes the Children Learning Reading program so unique and amazingly effective at teaching young children is that it seamlessly combines the teaching of synthetic phonics along with phonemic awareness to enable children to develop superb reading skills.
>>> Click here to learn more about the Children Learning Reading program and teach your child to read today
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