Do Preschoolers Need an Academic Curriculum?

best preschool curriculum

Is An Academic Curriculum The Best Preschool Curriculum?

In this competitive day and age it is easy to get caught up in trying to provide the best possible environment for your preschooler to learn and grow in. While it is important to provide children with an education that is rich with a stimulating environment, a purely academic curriculum is not always the best choice. Through many years of training and experience, we at Parkland Children’s Academy have developed the best possible preschool curriculum that includes academics, to nurture and develop a love for education, as well as learning in all our students.

Recent studies have pointed to the importance of a strong pre-kindergarten curriculum that ensures a solid foundation in literacy and math skills as a cornerstone of success in later educational years. However, there is also a growing popularity amongst researchers in early education, parents, preschool providers, and educators in the merit of play and letting “kids be kids”. So with these seemingly conflicting paths, what exactly is the best preschool curriculum? The answer is simple: both play and academic curriculums have positive points as well as outcomes, so the best curriculum is one that incorporates both and allows children to grow and learn in an environment that is appropriate for their age.

Research has shown that children below the age of five are unable to fully comprehend what they are learning from completing traditional academic curriculum tasks such as worksheets that ask a child to circle the correct number, or copy out a specific letter of the alphabet. While one child may be able to complete the task given to them, they may not be able to apply what they are learning to real life. On the other hand, if one child cannot complete the task to the teacher’s satisfaction they may be reprimanded or left feeling like a failure and may grow to fear or hate the subject related to that specific task.

Children left to their own devices throughout the day without any structure or method behind their playing may not develop the necessary numerical and literacy skills that are needed for success in the later years of their educational career. This is why a combination of the two teaching styles produces the best preschool curriculum. When a child is able to learn through constructive playtime (such as using concrete, instead of abstract, symbols like wooden blocks to understand numbers, or practicing writing letters in a sandbox instead of with a pen and paper) they also learn other important developmental tools such as problem solving and social skills in a way that their minds can comprehend. Other examples of possible areas of play that have high academic and educational benefits include giving each child a job that requires them to understand social structures and numbers (e.g. setting the table for snack time so each child has one napkin, one straw, and one box of milk), stringing beads to match a pattern on a card, sorting and categorizing items in a series, problem solving, having walls that are covered with: signs naming objects, lists of words, and charts of classroom jobs, etc.

These kinds of activities give young children many opportunities to learn about reading and mathematical skills but they also allow them to develop the physical ability to complete more academic tasks later on in their school career. Reading and writing requires a lot of concentration, patience, and fine motor skills that all need to be learned before a child is able to successfully complete and comprehend the task given to them.

For all these reasons and many more, it is easy to see that a combination of an academic and play-based curriculum is the best for preschool learning. If you would like to find out more about how we at Parkland Children’s Academy have developed the best preschool curriculum, come and visit us for a tour of the school and see for yourself!

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