Tiger parenting pre-schoolers – Discuss
Are you a mother/carer that spends time every day going over letter sounds and names, perhaps even teaching your pre-schooler to read and write already? Or are you a parent that takes the laidback approach?
My second child, Sofia is due to start school this September. I’ve started to wonder if I ought to have done something (anything even) in the run up, to enhance her education. Thanks to a birthday at the beginning of September, she will already have turned five before her first day there. And consequently, she will have had a whole extra year at home compared to her big sister Esme; an August baby. Interestingly, I’ve done things very differently second time round.
So differently in fact that I was caught off guard the other day when asked if I had already taught Sofia to read? To read! Have I heck. I’ve been lax and liberal with her unlike Esme, who I determined should write her name and the entire alphabet by the time she went to school at just four.
But that question, ‘Have I taught Fia to read’ – well it got me thinking… Should I have done something with her too? Gone through pre-school magazine’s tracing letters? Purchased pre-school magazines even?
I think generally, parents are more relaxed with subsequent children. Certainly, I wanted to take a very different approach second time round. From the off, I decided that as far as reading and writing, I would leave that to school.
At home we do puzzles, we cook, we build with bricks, we sing and dance, we play, we create. And all of these things equate to learning and laying down important foundations towards higher learning. Yet all of these things are also lots of fun!
I took time to find a nursery setting for my second child where the day was structured around learning through play. I’ve been entirely satisfied too, but was surprised when I chatted with others about the feedback form the nursery had handed out at the end of term. A lot of them were saying they had flagged up that they wanted more in the way of their child being taught to read and to write in the pre-school setting. Personally, I don’t get it.
Surely the nursery environment and pre-school experience ought to be fun? Ought to be about play? Fundamentally laying down the social aspect of a child’s development and behaviour, as well as subtly introducing them to all key areas of education. Sharing, taking turns, using manners, interacting with others, and, ultimately becoming increasingly independent.
Recently my youngest went to an induction day at what will be her new school. I was aware that she knew we were off to meet her teacher there, but it only dawned on me that she associated school with reading and writing, when, the night before she brought a book over to me for her bedtime story. A first word book that had been gifted to her as a two-year-old, that’s sat unloved on the shelf for near on three years. I was amazed when she opened it and began to sound out words, spelling out for example C A T and D O G.
Nursery has obviously had some input here, and perhaps Sofia has learnt from her big sister Esme who often sits and writes beside her? However, having not participated in anything consciously at all to help teach Sofia to recognise letters and their sounds, or to help her form written words by herself, clearly something has registered. It just goes to show you that a child will pick up reading and writing skills as and when they are ready to learn. And can do so at home, purely through play.