Monday, November 11, 2013

Call to Arms

I'm afraid I have something shocking to tell you: there are such a thing as Preschool Worksheets online.  I know! In this day and age!  In my bio on Teachers Pay Teachers, I mention that I don't do worksheets and I stand by this.  I've even had some parents ask why I don't send home worksheets to show learning. But you're good teachers; you already know why you do what you do. Hopefully this post will give you some talking points to bring up to parents or colleagues next time they talk about worksheets. 

What are we trying to teach with worksheets?

What's Wrong with Worksheets?

"Too Much, Too Soon" When children circle something on a worksheet, they're not actively engaging with materials. 

They push too soon and can actually limit interest in reading. Really, who actually likes to do worksheets? 

It's just not how we work as humans. Also see Vygotsky's theories. Note that this study was on adults; it doesn't change. 

This could go on all day.

Think about it: what were your best classes when you were learning? The best workshops you've been to? Were you filling out forms and told what to circle? Or were you discussing, interacting, and exploring? 

Can Worksheets Ever Be Effective?

In some cases, yes. 

The Handwriting Without Tears program effectively uses worksheets in combination with multisensory materials 

Here's another article about worksheets being successful with children with disabilities: 

*Note that both of these articles deal with children with disabilities. They have different thought processes and motor connections than "typical" children. They need the more rigid structure just to be able to write their name in capital letters. But did you notice? The focus was still on the process. They're also not doing it all day.

"What is it that children do all day at your center?"

Play. Play play play play play. And through playing, exploring. Inventing. Experimenting and failing. Persisting. Focusing. Communicating. Writing. Numbers. Letters. Social Skills.  Even a rudimentary form of telling time. 

I titled this post "A Call to Arms." So here it is. Take back Pinterest. Take back TeachersPayTeachers and TeachersNotebook and whatever resource you use that also mentions worksheets. Let's take back preschool and show people that yes, we play all day. And as preschool teachers, it's the most important thing we can do.

Which class would you rather be in? 


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