Six years ago, after seeing study results that showed local kids didn’t enter Junior Kindergarten ready to learn Nobel JK/SK teacher Debbie Newton and Melissa McKeown, who now is the Waubeek Day Care supervisor, joined forces to create the workshop Pre-Welcome to K.
The program highlights for parents what their children should know before going to Junior Kindergarten, including holding a pencil properly, getting ready to go outdoors, and having the energy to make it through the day.
Kids who need help putting on shoes, jackets and cutting paper would require extra attention from the teacher and they’d fall behind, said Newton.
Let’s stop for a minute and think about this. Some kids are still three years old when they start Junior Kindergarten. Some three year olds still need daytime naps, can’t quite hold a winter jacket to slip their arms through the sleeves and some use a full hand grip on a marker instead of the more precise pencil pinch.
There are many things young kids can do and should be encouraged to do to foster independence and a love of learning.
But there are also some things that shouldn’t be an issue at three years old, or even four years old, that would be better handled by more adults in the classroom or smaller classroom sizes.
In 1981 David Elkins, Ph.D. published The Hurried Child and republished it in 2006 about the stress put on kids as parents try to create geniuses with infant educational videos and cutting out free playtime.
Pre-Welcome to K didn’t create the expectations for Kindergarten students, but is an example of what the educational system now expects. Children need to be children. Yes, they must learn to be independent and that includes getting shoes and jackets on, but stressing yourself and your three-year-old in trying to master the proper pencil pinch shouldn’t be considered detrimental to their future school education.
After all, parents don’t have to legally enroll their children until the age of six.