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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts





If your son were 14 and planning to take driver’s education to get a driver`s permit in two years, you would not say, “You are going to be driving in two years, so take the keys to our new car; you`d better start practicing now.”
It would be just as silly for early childhood teachers to drill children on skills they don`t need until two years down the road. Teachers help children practice all the skills they need NOW, so that when the time comes, they`ll be ready for reading, writing and math.
If you were a trained early childhood teacher, you would be able to observe at least 30 skills being practiced each day through “play.” These skills fall into six general areas. Ask your child`s teacher to tell you what play experiences help your child practice each of these skills.
* Large and small muscle skills. Following a line with the body (controlling the muscles) eventually helps a child follow a line of print or write on a line.
* Auditory and visual perception skills. Seeing and hearing big and small differences is necessary in learning to read.
* Problem solving skills. Sorting, matching, ordering, planning, categorizing, measuring, counting, observing and experimenting are math and science skills done in preschool.
* Literacy and language skills. Communicating thoughts, ideas, needs, and observations are necessary reading, writing and speaking skills.
* Social skills. Compromising, negotiating, making choices, managing time, following rules and making friends are necessary life skills.
Visit the center and observe your child to see how intently he focuses on tasks while “playing.” Watch him during story time. He is developing concentration skills, attention span and a love of reading and learning.
Good early childhood programs help children practice the skills that match their PRESENT developmental levels, and at the same time, they provide steady and gradual challenges which INCREASE children’s skills. This is certainly more sensible than drilling children on things they can`t do and don`t need to do until a year or two from now. Good early childhood programs don`t drill children; they teach the joy of learning.


Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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