A dozen NYC Dads Group recently attended an engaging discussion about the philosophy of preschool. Here is a “guest” blog post from Gil R. providing the scoop on the event:
To Preschool or Not To Preschool, That is the Question. Such a timely seminar, as my family will soon have to face this very question. We were fortunate to get schooled by a true expert in the field, Marsha Greenberg, a therapist in New York City. She is also the author of the newly released book, Raising Your Toddler, by Globe Pequot Press.
Frankly, I was a bit overwhelmed after Marsha Greenberg presented a wealth of though provoking information on this topic. Overall, the path you choose for your child’s initial school experience should be based on your child’s abilities and needs, in order to provide the best possible opportunity for them to succeed and excel … as opposed to selecting a highly regarded school, institution or program that may not be appropriate for them.
It calls for us as parents to ask questions regarding the school, its instructors, and their knowledge or experience in dealing with kids. Do the instructors engage in continued education? What do they read to keep current in their craft? How does the school support their staff in this process? The more you ask and are informed about the preschool you are planning to enroll them in, the better the chances are of finding the right fit for your child.
According to Marsha Greenberg, it is MOST important to know your child and their temperament before embarking on the preschool journey.
In this workshop, Marsha Greenberg answered several questions including:
1. Do toddlers need to go to school?
2. What do toddlers need to learn?
3. How do you pick a preschool program?
This was not a session about the preschool entrance process or how to maximize your chances of getting your child into preschool. This was a relaxed workshop about your child’s needs and what to look for as you consider the options in your neighborhood.
Lastly, we know there are so many parents looking for more direction regarding pre-schools so here is some additional food for thought summarized by group member John L.:
- nursery school is not ultimately necessary – our kids would be just fine if we waited until kindergarten
- important to ask questions about approach to education
– what school expects of kids
– what books teachers read
– how teachers respond to difficult children
– what’s ongoing training like for teachers
- key things that may be evaluated in admissions but also as indicators of “success” in nursery school
– flexibility of child
– quality of mood or intensity of mood
– ability to control/regulate mood
- must match school philosophy to child and what they expect of child – i.e. kids don’t grow up learning how to sit in circles, etc.
- bear in mind access to space by the school
- floor time with children is important (let kids direct playtime) i.e. you let kids build legos and you join in instead of you showing (or modeling) your kids how to build Legos – you want your teacher to understand this
- drop off in educational adjustment around 4th grade has been documented, primarily because of a transition from exploration to rote learning – need to keep exploring and learning through play. Also, there is tendency for there to be too much homework, which makes kids hate school
- schools must understand different temperaments
- need to have good sense of who your child is and the environment they may fit into