It occurred to me today, flipping through the parenting magazines at the doctor’s office (I never take books out with me because I’m so bad at leaving things behind) that D1 has now officially missed her first year of preschool. She’ll be four next month. So I felt the urge to discover what she should have been learning instead of staying at home playing with her little brother and watching her mother throw up.
World Book has a list of Curriculum Standards for Preschool. I’m not going to duplicate them all, just consider ones that stick out as particularly noteworthy. I would also point out that this list doesn’t distinguish between three and four year olds, so this is the list for next year, too.
Size/Colors and Shapes/Numbers
Most of these skills (distinguish "big" and "little"?) seem more like toddler skills to me; anyway, she certainly knew colors and shapes and sizes by the time she was two, let alone four. Counting by rote was easy, too. Counting with one to one correspondence is something she’s mastered much more recently, but she’s really taken off with it and is starting to apply it to the beginnings of addition and subtraction. We do a lot of math at the breakfast table, counting how many pieces of fruit or pancake are on the plate, how many we’re eating, how many are left. We also play games.
Do we read? Why yes, we do. Letter sounds aren’t even on this list; I guess that goes with kindergarten. The only areas where she still has a problem is with left-to-right progression (at least, when she writes she’s almost as likely to go one way as the other) and with writing her name–the two letters at the end are still not something she’s very confident in writing. She knows perfectly well how to spell it, though, and she’s practicing hard.
I do wonder if I should work more on the left/right thing but I also think it likely she’ll grow out of it. That or I’ll just start teaching her Hebrew.
Position and Direction / Time
I can’t say I would have thought of these as school skills, but I’m pretty sure she knows up and down and day and night. (D2 does too, but he always thinks he can rearrange the world for his convenience.)
Listening and Sequencing
Well, she listens carefully to SOME things. Like most children she suffers from selective hearing at times . . .
This is without doubt our weakest point. However, I’m impressed with how she’s developed over the past few months. She is starting to jump well, and learning to stand on one foot. She loves to show it off. She’s also just learned how to button her own coat, and therefore insists on wearing that coat even though it’s far too warm.
I can’t believe 5 piece puzzles are the standard for preschool. D2, let alone D1, can do 20 piece puzzles. I’m guessing this is bare minimum rather than average, though. D1 has figured out (or copied from DOB) the strategy of starting with the edges on jigsaw puzzles.
She loves cutting with scissors and is starting to be able to cut out strips of paper (she found some striped old wrapping paper to do it on last week.) She can draw, but she’s terribly uptight about it. Most of the time she’d rather try to write letters, where the goal is well-defined.
She handles two overnights a week at Grandma’s house with no qualms (she’ll hardly talk to us while she’s there: "Hello! I’m at Grandma’s house! See you later! Bye!") so I think she’s sufficiently independent. (More so than I would like, perhaps, but that’s the only way I’ve survived this pregnancy.)
Just when we had her trained to flush the toilet every time, our toilet started hanging and we’re trying to teach her to NOT flush so we can go in and make sure it doesn’t get stuck. Such is life. Other than that she’s pretty independent with the toilet.
We are working VERY hard on crossing streets and parking lots safely, even without an adult hand, as all available adult hands are about to be filled. They’re doing great.
I do want to teach them their address and my cell phone number, but I need to be more consistent about practicing. She at least knows our street name and it’s not a very long street.
She’s never asked to go to school, but she begs to go to Sunday school.
She is a big help around the house with both her regular chores and unexpected Mama-can’t-stand-another-second chores.
So I think she is doing all right. On top of this, she knows a whole lot about pregnancy and prenatal development, from the timing of morning sickness (when the babies are "teeny-tiny") to the need for special care of babies who are born early. She loves to look up locations, from stories, songs, or conversation, on the map and can locate us (at least within North America) on a world map. She has memorized numerous Bible verses, some poems, lots of story books, and is familiar with many folk songs and several hymns. She can find things to do to keep herself occupied for several hours.
I don’t think she’s missed out on too much, except on the latest social life and entertainment preferences among preschool girls, and I think that’s something just as well left alone.