If you have a preschool aged child at home like me, it’s most likely because the HIGH cost of preschool or childcare, or maybe another reason, but regardless we are responsible for preparing them to enter school. What can we do at home to make sure our children are ready to go to school?
I have done some research to help make sure I am up to date on the standards and expectations. Here is what I have learned and would love to share with you.
In early childhood the areas of development that are measured are:
- Language-Receptive Language Understanding, Expressive Language and Communication Skills, Vocabulary, Early Writing, Writing Processes, and Writing Applications, Concepts of Print, Book Handling Skills, Phonological Awareness, Alphabet Knowledge, Comprehension
- Physical-Fine Motor Skills (hand muscle development), Gross Motor Skills (all other muscle development), Personal Health and Hygiene Practices, Safety and Injury Prevention
- Social-Attachment, Social Interactions, Respect
- Emotional-Self-Awareness, Recognizes and Expresses Feelings, Self-Regulation
- Cognitive-To be able to know and to think. This would encompass the areas of learning and knowing about Mathematics, History, Science, Art, and Music.
As I searched through many different sites (Here, here, and here) some group areas together, and some divide them up in further detail, but what I learned in my years of studying Early Childhood Education were these. The National Association for the Education of Young Children or NAEYC’s Positions Statement on Early Learning Standards also state these five must be covered within an accredited program.
When a teacher builds her lesson plans, they are based on State Standards, which focus on the developmental areas stated above. The manner she teaches these standards is described as Developmental Appropriate Practice or DAP. DAP is a research based philosophy that says when a teacher meets a child where they are developmentally and assist them on reaching the next level of development is the best practice. In order to really preform DAP, you must know where your child stands within each developmental area. In order to do that you must look at your state’s standards, but you can also reach out to an Early Childhood Specialist in your area to assist you in learning where your child is at and what the next step is. I did find this really helpful checklist you can use also.
Now, after I combed through the Arizona State Standards, this is what I found most helpful for me, when thinking about what I may not have considered my child needed to know:
Language: Can demonstrate and communicate a direction or position (in, out, on, off, under, behind). Recognizes their own written name and the names of family or friends. Can hold a book correctly and understands a book has a title, author, and/or illustrator. With modeling and support, identifies rhyming words. Recognizes as many as 10 letters, especially those in own name, family and friends. Uses a variety of writing tools, materials, and surfaces to create drawings or symbols.
Physical: Walks along the curb without falling off. Walks backward. Kicks, throws and catches a ball. Jumps for height and distance. Tears paper into pieces to make a collage. Hits peg with a wooden hammer. Cuts paper with scissors. Buttons, unbuttons, snaps, buckles, laces or ties shoe.
Social: Seeks security and support from familiar adults. Separates from familiar adult with minimal distress. Demonstrates positive ways to resolve conflict. Example: Asks for a turn when they want a toy another child is playing with. Defends own rights and the rights of others. Example: Tells his friend not to knock down his block structure. Shows respect for learning materials in the learning environment.
Emotional: Demonstrates self-confidence. Example: Acknowledges her own accomplishments and says, “I can hit the ball.” Demonstrates knowledge of self-identity. Example: Declares, “I’m the big brother,” while looking at a family picture. Identifies, describes and expresses their own feelings. Expresses empathy for others. Manages transitions, daily routines and unexpected events. Example: Moves to the next activity independently.
Cognitive: The child demonstrates self-direction while participating in a range of activities and routines. The child demonstrates eagerness to learn about and discuss a range of topics, ideas, and activities. The child demonstrates the ability to maintain and sustain a challenging task. Example: Child continuously stacks blocks to duplicate a picture until they no longer tumble down. Recognizes relationships between cause and effect. Uses imagination to generate new ideas. The child demonstrates the ability to seek solutions to problems. Example: When setting the table, child realizes there are not enough cups and says, “We have a problem. There are not enough cups.”
I know this seems like so much! Which is why I gave a few examples, but in the coming days I hope to help you better understand how much you can teach your child within one activity.
NAEYC is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.
Arizona Department of Education
Arizona Department of Education Early Learning Standards