Kindergarten Years.Kindergarten! Or as it is often miss-spelled, Kindergarden; don't you just love the idea of little kinders in gardens? I think I prefer spelling it that way! Anyway, many states and countries have different ideas about pre-school education and when is the best time for children to start some formal learning.
Kindergarden in many states is formally part of the primary school system, whereas in New Zealand, where my children grew up, we had the choice of
Kindergarten from aged four, and then children started school on their fifth birthday, or Playcentre, which went from birth to school age.
I chose Playcentre and this is very different from a day care or any Kindergarden.
The idea behind Playcentre is that children learn best with Free Play; where all basic activities and learning areas are available at all sessions and then specialized activities are run at different times. Children are encouraged to participate, but they really go where their energy is. So it was an ideal "Law of Attraction" style preschool.
The other major difference is that there is a ratio of 1 adult to 5 children, depending on the level of training amongst the parents. It is parent run (with enormous support via a National Association) and there is a huge amount of education and training for parents along the way. Unlike Kindergarten, there is no set curriculum, because there is so much available at any one time, but parents do learn how to extend activities to cater for older children.
One of the disadvantages, and arguments against kindergarden kids starting at aged four, is that very young children are sometimes disadvantaged when measured against other preschoolers. One of the things I loved about playcentre is that children are measured on developmental stages, not age stages, so there is never any comparison with another child. Kindergarten children are mixing only with their age group, whereas Playcentre children are mixing with a range of preschoolers and plenty of other adults - even some Dads were able to pitch in.
My observations of playcentre kids is they were usually fairly advanced by the time they went to school, and they were far more confident in different situations. So my advice is move to New Zealand for your preschool education years!
Seriously though, do some research in your state/country as to what the alternatives are for kindergarten aged children. Many little kids are simply not ready for the whole formal education system. Nor are they ready to separate from you or be one of 20 other little children in a class, although your child may have already been in daycare, or nursery school if you ended up back at work.
I am sad to see so many of these schools are now creating fairly rigid curriculum where even from a tiny age the little ones are routined into what activities they have to do, and when, and the whole notion of a free and happy childhood has disappeared.
The preschool years are extrememely important ones, and are a large part of what shapes us as adults. Most of our belief systems are built during the first five years, and after that we just collect evidence! So do your research and weigh up what is most important in your family.
We had working Mothers at Playcentre, you had duty days and off duty days, so quite a few Moms were able to work part-time.
With the availability of the internet these days, it is easier for parents to have a more flexible working life. Think outside the box. Maybe you can homesource
your current job so you can work mostly from the spare room?
Life is a big adventure at this age, with lots of high energy running and chasing, shouting and laughter.
These Gorgeous Wall Decals are a great idea to help kindergarten children who are having nightmares. Telling them each night these little Dream Fairies will fill their heads with lovely dreams, so "shut your eyes and wait until the dream fairy comes and kisses you on your eyelids goodnight."
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This is a great age to begin dreambuilding with your preschooler. Playing games such as "Imagine if you could fly ...... where would you go, what would you do?" "Imagine you had a huge big circus truck, what would you put in it? "Who would come with you?" "What adventures would you have?" What if you could do anything in the world what would you do?"
The more outlandish and incredible imaginings the better! I love playing this game with all ages. We had visitors staying with us last year, and their 11 year old and I were in the back seat of the car as we were tickly touring around. We had great fun imagining all the things we could do, be or have when we grew up! (I don't think I'll ever grow up!)
This is great preparation for problem solving as they get older, once they get the hang of it they can use this technique in any situation they are unhappy about as well as dream building. For example, if they are scared of school for the first day, you can play, "imagine if you had so much fun at school you didn't want to come home?" "What is the funniest thing you can think of that the teacher might say?" "Imagine all the kids wanting to play with you, what games would you play?"
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