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Expecting too much, too soon...

As a former early childhood development professional (well, am I formerly? I guess not, anymore!) I can attest to PLAY being the foundation of education for early learners. I can also say, without a doubt that parents, caretakers, and even teachers and early childhood professionals are expecting WAY too much out of their preschool aged children. These high expectations lead to a misconception that our child/student has behavioral problems. Well, most behaviors are not a problem, yet developmentally appropriate. How they are met is also key, and you can read more on behavior management in past blogs. For now, we will focus on what we shouldn't be expecting from our preschool aged children. When I am referring to a preschooler, I am referring to children in the 3-5 year old age group. It is crucial to remember that all children develop at their own rate and only you can recognize your child's/student's individual needs.

Developmentally speaking, the pre-school age group can only process/regulate one emotion at a time. They can also only manage 1-4 step directions at a time. They simply do not have impulse control that is developed much later in life. Nor do they have the attention span to manage activities that span over a longer time of 10 minutes (unless voluntarily). This can often lead to adults viewing normal behaviors or a disengagement as a problem. The problem lies only in the expectations. Likewise, allowing children to explore above, and past expectations (again, voluntarily) is also to be balanced as to not bore children who may be considered advanced for their age. Do not get hung up on these terms, though (average, advanced, etc.). Let things happen naturally.

Pre-schoolers should be playing, exploring, crafting, imagining, building, moving, singing, and developing a natural love for learning.

Pre-school aged kids should not be expected to....

-Sit at a desk doing schoolwork

-Do repetitive writing/dittos

- Read

-Stand in line

-Hold still for lengthy periods of time

-Repeat a set of directions without reminders or prompts

- Regulate emotions on their own

- Understand/process multi-step directions

So, what do you do?

You give your child tools and resources like the ones found on our site and within our group, and you guide them in finding their interests. You watch, and you take note of how your early learners explore the world around them. Are they an auditory, tactile, or visual learner? What sparks their interests? What do they shy away from? While you explore these questions and find the answers together, you'll develop a learning path based on your child's needs. Don't stress about the reading and writing, and the 1,2,3's. Those will come in due time! Enjoy the wonder and play that education grows from.

For more tips and tricks for homeschoolers, join our VIP group, or view our other blog posts!

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