I glanced at my mail and read the headline of a local advertising magazine:
“7 Reasons why high quality preschool matters for your child.”
Among the 7 things were “Get Ahead”, “Success”, and “Test Scores”.
Why would I be worried about my 3 year old “getting ahead”? Getting ahead of whom? My three year old likes to get ahead of her older brothers in the ice cream line. But I fear these experts aren’t talking about ice cream. And what about “success”? The success they talked about in the article wasn’t success in learning to count to 10 or learning the alphabet. No, it promoted the kind of success that means money in the pocket and envy of neighbors when one has a nice house and a boat.
Does a 3 year old care about all of that “success”? Not any 3 year old I’ve met. They seem to care about what they are going to eat, playing with toys, and enjoying the moment. Unfortunately, too many parents get caught up in pushing education too early instead of letting their children develop naturally with encouragement and love.
Education today seems to be all about test scores, success, and getting ahead, and it begins in preschool. Children need to get into the right preschool so they can get ahead in reading and math by the 3rd grade. According to the article I read, studies show that children who have high test scores in reading and math by the 3rd grade will be successful adults. Children who don’t, well, it will be a sad life for them. They have no hope if they don’t make it by the 3rd grade. So, in order to be successful by 3rd grade, a child must be educated in an expensive, high level preschool. And that will guarantee the child’s success as an adult.
How uninspiring that sounds! The poor child who doesn’t succeed by 3rd grade is doomed. There must be a better way, and there is a better way.
There are four phases of learning that children move through as they grow up and into adulthood. The youngest is the core phase, which is roughly 0-8 years old. During this time, the most important person to a child is their mother.
Children need their mommies. Mommies teach children love, just by their care and example. Preschool children feel more secure at home with their parents, especially their mothers. Mothers have a wonderful opportunity to create a home that encourages the best learning for children – play. Children learn through play. It’s their way of exploring the world. (for great ideas about how to encourage more creative play with your children, see www.playcounts.com)
Children enjoy stories. Reading to your children will foster a love of books and a love of learning from very early ages. Moms who read to their children create more interest in reading than any phonics program at the top preschool. Children love being in mom’s lap while she reads a story. It creates bonding time. The child has an inner knowing that she is the center of her mother’s world at that moment, and moments like that help create confidence in the child as they feel loved and encouraged during reading time.
If all a mother does is shift her perception of “success” and “getting ahead” to spending time playing with, nurturing, and loving her child, she will give her child the most important foundation to a child’s success as an adult–the confidence that comes from a mother’s love.