If you’ve been with me anytime and you know me well you know how passionate I am about honoring the stage of development children are in and not pushing them academically . I am a seasoned teacher and I teach these things to other teachers over and over again. I know that children do not need to know letters and letter sounds before they go to kindergarten. That’s what kindergarten is for ( actually 1st grade but whatever 😭). I know which skills should be expected of preschool age children.
This is the time of year that always makes me doubt my teaching style. Today we started doing the dial three assessments. I have not compared the scores from the beginning of school yet but I can tell you that I know they are much higher.
I can also tell you there are things on the Dial 3 that are not developmentally appropriate for three and four and five-year-olds. Next year, I hope to be switching to a different type of assessment.
Why do I get stuck on one item in the whole assessment? There are seven letters listed and we ask the children do they know those letters and what they sound like.
I do not teach rote letter recognition or memorization of letter sounds.
We are too busy learning how to solve complex relationship struggles , practicing being responsible for ourselves and our belongings. We are experimenting with different art materials and exploring nature.
Luckily- it seemed most of the children knew K today- which is one of the seven letters. The reason for that is because I have a big K written on our calendar for when we will tour the kindergarten. This is how children ideally should learn letters by recognizing the letter in correlation with some thing that’s important to them like their names or the letters in their favorite restaurant.
Still today as we did that tiny section of our assessment I doubted myself. I reached out to a few people that are wise and educated in early childhood to help me work through how I was feeling.
My friend said “ You are doing it right ❗️The opportunities they have had to problem solve, think creatively, communicate, and collaborate in early childhood will affect their outcomes forever. Those are deep skills that can only form over time.
Letter recognition is a quick skill when children are ready for it. Nobody goes to college not knowing their ABC’s, and for children who are going to struggle with reading due to perceptive differences, there is zero evidence that starting earlier helps at all. By contrast, early opportunities are HUGE for children who struggle with social navigation, communication, organized thinking, etc.
Loud and clear: children who focused most on ABCs this year might start kindergarten “ahead”, but children who focused most on being curious, confident, real-world learners this year have the skills they need for the long run. You are not just pre-kindergarten. You are pre-college.”
All. The. Feelings.
Every year I go through this process of second guessing myself and negative talk.
I see report cards posted from other early childhood environments that include all the letters all the sounds and so many things. The parents are so proud that their children are ready for kindergarten. I wholly believe that your children are ready for kindergarten as well.
Thank you for trusting me and trusting what research tells us is best for young children.
Now I’m gonna go eat a cookie 🍪 and read this fun book again.