Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not as easy as A, B, C

I've written before about how much I like my kids’ child care center. I think the curriculum is a pretty good balance of academics (letters, science, etc.) and what I consider more important preschool stuff, such as learning to cooperate in a group, developing independence, outdoor play, and messy arts and crafts projects.

So I was kind of surprised to find out that the center is soon going to be offering an early reading/phonics program for 3, 4, and 5 year olds (for an extra fee). From the promotional brochures, it seems like the program will be age-appropriate and fun for the kids. Jo loves to write (I dictate the spelling; she recently composed a shopping list of three items: TOAST, MINTS, and GUM). She is starting to connect sounds in words with the right letters, so I think she would enjoy the reading activities.

But I know she doesn’t need it. She’s learning everything she needs just by listening to stories, singing songs, coloring, and talking with us, her friends and her teachers every day. I’d rather just have her keep doing that. There are also studies that show pushing kids too hard too early in academics can be damaging.

I’m torn, though, because Jo might feel left out if lots of the other kids are doing the reading sessions and she isn’t (it will be a pull-out program, where small groups of kids are taken aside or out of the room to participate). Plus it’s hard to turn down the chance to give your child what seems like a leg up! I'm probably going to leave it up to her--tell her about the program and see if she wants to do it. If she does, we can drop out if she's not enjoying herself (we only have to commit, and pay for, a month at a time). But she's only 4. What would you do, wise Internets?

10 comments:

mothergoosemouse said...

I would leave it up to her. If it's month-to-month and not terribly pricey, then you can always pull her out and suck up whatever money's already been paid for that month. That's exactly what I'd do with Tacy, and as always, they sound like they're right in step with one another.

Tacy started participating in an activity through her school called Jump Bunch. She asked to do it, and I'm all for it because they introduce kids to all sorts of sports - the objectives, the rules, the equipment used - but in a fun, no pressure scenario. Since Tacy already thinks that only boys play soccer (no idea who planted THAT idea), I figured it would be great exposure for her. But she enjoys it, and really that's all that matters.

Lady M said...

I love the idea that it's only a one month commitment. You are way ahead of me in the school area, but a month in what seems to be a fun program seems like a reasonable risk.

Binkytown said...

I'd ask her to be sure, but I'm guessing she doesn't NEED it. Being in child care already seems to give them a leg up in terms of reading and vocabulary. Almost amazingly so sometimes..

nomotherearth said...

I would do exactly what you're doing - find out what she wants and go from there. I might find out, if possible, how many of the other kids are going to participate, because you're right, it's tough when "everybody's doing it" and you're not.

Christina said...

I think leaving it up to her is a great idea. That way she's already focusing on making her own choices about parts of her education, and if she doesn't like it, she can choose to drop it as well.

Karianna said...

She doesn't need it for the actual phonics, but she might want it for the socialization.

As others have said - ask her, if it doesn't work, then pull her out.

Good luck! :)

Suzanne said...

You've gotten lots of good advice! I'd be torn, too -- my son's school doesn't focus on reading for 4-year-olds, and it makes me wonder if I should be pursuing this on my own.

Let us know what you decide!

Nicci said...

My son just started kindergarten, school has changed. If she thinks phonics are fun, this program sounds great.

Tree said...

I think at this age that following her lead is exactly what you need to do. If she enjoys it, encourage it. If she fights doing something, then drop it for now.

Nancy said...

Our day care started pushing the Hooked on Phonics program for Mimi last year. She has been verbally advanced for her age (like her distant pals Tacy and Jo) but she didn't express a lot of interest in learning to read. I figured she'd read by Kindergarten anyway so why rush? And we didn't sign her up.

This year, she actually asked to take HOP. She loves it and is making rapid progress. But we definitely wouldn't have gone there if she hadn't expressed an interest.

Our program's month to month, too, and it works well. Let me know if you're interested in other info (just send me an e-mail) and I can share our experience.