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Why do we have to have Pre school????

(30 Posts)
Beetroot Mon 11-Apr-05 21:12:51

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Twiglett Mon 11-Apr-05 21:15:44

pre-school is playgroup IME

with a few letters and number activites added in as they get older

it gets them used to the school environment gently, kids choose what they want to do, if they don't want to write or draw they don't

HappyMumOfOne Mon 11-Apr-05 21:17:04

My ds starts a Playgroup tomorrow and i have been on 2 visits there before now to get my ds used to the surroundings and what not! All they do at this playgroup is exactly what u have said painting, bikes,trikes, dressing up etc but they did say to me that alot of other playgroups do more of the learning than playing!My ds is only 2.7 and i think he deserves to have some fun in the start of his life! so i agree!

juniperdewdrop Mon 11-Apr-05 21:17:25

yes, ds2 goes to pre school/playgroup and they just play until they get to nursery age.

wordsmith Mon 11-Apr-05 21:17:37

The pre-school my DS went to was playgroup in all but name. There was nothing structured about it. What structured learning are you on about?

We have also been lucky in that his local primary pioneers learning through play in KS1 (and up to KS2 too now) which is fab. There's very little pressure and the kids all seem to do well.

I was reading an article in last week's Observer about how many pre-schools and day nurseries (mainly in London I believe) teach Japanese and yoga to kids as young as 3. Now that's just crackers IMO.

Beetroot Mon 11-Apr-05 21:19:14

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Beetroot Mon 11-Apr-05 21:20:15

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HappyMumOfOne Mon 11-Apr-05 21:22:16

Beetroot i strongly agree with you.

Gobbledigook Mon 11-Apr-05 21:24:04

Totally agree with you Beety. My ds1 (just 4) and ds2 (2.5) go to what I call 'playgroup' - it's just mornings and it's mostly play. The 'pre-schoolers' just go off for a short section to do more 'grown up' things like recognising a few letters and numbers but it's very informal and that's the way I like it. They are not 'forced' to do anything they don't want to but since Ofsted inspected have to show they are following a 'curriculum' .

Despite the fact that a few of ds1's friends go to the most expensive day nursery in the area (which has won millions of awards to boot) which gives out a 'homework' bag each night to kids of 3 and over , he is actually somewhat better than most of them on the numbers front so I really don't think structured learning vs the learning incidentally through play makes much difference.

I think now is a time for play and fun with absolutely zero pressure - there's enough of that to come in later life and childhood is so special but so short. Honestly, my biggest wish for my kids school career is that they enjoy it. Good grades are a bonus IMO because at the end of the day a happy and confident child is a successful child/adult.

cori Mon 11-Apr-05 21:25:50

I call the group my son goes to Preschool. He is there for two hours, no parents 'teachers' etc.
The group is also OFSTEDED and they have free places for 3+. It is pretty much the same thing, is it not?

I also think it is a good idea. I am pretty sure my own start to education was stunted by the lack of preparation and social interaction preschool brings.

coppertop Mon 11-Apr-05 21:31:17

Ds1's pre-school got an excellent Ofsted report but is very informal. There was no emphasis on learning letters and numbers. He didn't want to draw, never mind write and was never pressured into doing these things. They made sure that he had the opportunity to do pictures, paintings etc but most of the time he wanted to play outside or with the toy cars. In fact it was only 2 weeks before he left there that they realised that he did in fact know all his letters and numbers and could read a few words already. I'm really hoping that ds2 will be able to go to the same place.

crunchie Mon 11-Apr-05 21:45:11

I think it seems to depend on whether your child is at a private nursery or a more 'local' one. DD2 went to a geat private nursery, and learnt french at 3!! However this is a child who WANTS to learn. She is now in a local 'pre-school' which is much less structured and has fun play. She is doing fine there, but I know some people don't like it because it doesn't teach them much

Personally I think DD2 will be quicker to learn whatever teaching she has, I feel like I should do more with her, becasue she genuinely wans to do it.

frogs Mon 11-Apr-05 21:45:43

The nursery attached to our primary is pretty structured, but IME the structured stuff was more about general skills than letters, numbers etc. I remember them doing lots of sorting, matching, colour work, water play, jigsaw puzzles, singing, story-telling, building toys etc.

I think the point was to level the playing field for kids who had spent three years sitting in front of the telly and never been talked to/taken anywhere. I never felt mine were being pushed into overly academic stuff, and quite like the idea of them being gently encouraged to persevere with things that maybe don't come naturally to them.

Beetroot Mon 11-Apr-05 21:47:41

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whatsername Mon 11-Apr-05 21:55:46

IMO, preschool is just there to get them into the 'system' earlier, hence Ofsted. School is failing, so start them earlier.

My ds went to a very flexible playgroup, where they had activities and children moved round as they pleased. One which I visited with him though, had very formal activities set out which the kids were moved round and marked on what they could or couldn't do (no mention of whether or not they wanted to, if they didn't want to, they were marked down as not capable...)

Dd is Just turned 4 and she started just after Christmas at a Montessori 'nursery.' It is, effectively, a playgroup and she only does 2 mornings. There is too much emphasis on numbers and letters for my liking, but it is, again, very flexible.

My ds only started playgroup at 4 and knew all his numbers and letters, etc (had done since 2 1/2). Dd on the other hand is only just showing an interest now, and beginning to learn a few letters. That's the way it should be. They should be able to learn at their own pace and not be pushed to meet targets at this age.

aloha Mon 11-Apr-05 21:58:39

I think unless they do structured education stuff they don't qualify for the nursery grant from the gvmt, which is why they do it.
I tend to agree with you though - play is all they need.

frogs Mon 11-Apr-05 22:02:49

Are you disagreeing with me or crunchie, beetroot?

Actually FWIW I'm a bit of an old hippie at heart, who would be quite happy with my child spending a year mimbling around in the sandpit. But in an area like ours (quite deprived bit of inner London) there are a lot of kids who have had very little input during their three years and some who come to nursery very wild (incapable of sitting still or listening, trying to strangle other kids and calling nursery teachers f*ing c* when they intervene. That kind of thing). Plus quite a few who are very passive and can barely string a sentence together, and don't know what a book is for. My gut feeling says that these kids can benefit from a bit more in the way of structured intervention to help them calm down, learn to concentrate, take turns, deal with frustration etc. I'm not sure letting them spend the whole year just racing round the playground kicking other kids would be doing them a favour.

wordsmith Mon 11-Apr-05 22:21:06

IME the real benefit of preschool is socialisation and confidence building. I have friends who are primary school teachers and they all say you can tell the kids who have had some preschooling - they have less trouble settling into school.

I know some preschools and day nurseries do things like learning french and stuff but we have Tots TV on Cbeebies for that!!

Beetroot Mon 11-Apr-05 22:21:12

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Gobbledigook Mon 11-Apr-05 22:24:55

I think the benefits in socialising etc really depends on the child and there are ways of learning these skills without going to nursery/pre-school.

Lots of friends used to comment on how outgoing and sociable ds1 was 'for a child that doesn't go to nursery' which I just thought was a ridiculous comment. I also didn't go to school till I was 5 (Sept birthday) and it certainly didn't stop me talking for England to anyone that would listen

I admit that some children may need more 'practice' socialising but can't you do that by taking them to mother and toddler groups and meeting up with friends with children? Or even just by having siblings?!

wordsmith Mon 11-Apr-05 22:27:07

By socialising I mean learning to relate to other kids/adults as an individual without their mother being present.

Beetroot Mon 11-Apr-05 22:28:03

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Gobbledigook Mon 11-Apr-05 22:29:02

Oh I see - but can't they just learn that in reception? Why do we want them to be one step ahead all the time? Perhaps some children aren't ready to be socialising away from their Mummy at 3 so why try and make them?

Not trying to be argumentative btw, just thinking it through.

crunchie Mon 11-Apr-05 22:29:32

Beetyeven though her lessons stopped at christmas when we moved her she sill calls me Mamen and dh Papa she can still ocunt, knows her colours and basics like Bonjour/AuRevoir etc. But then we practice with her as we love france and went in Jan skiing, and are going camping in May. For her the extra 'learning' from the structured nursery was good, and she certainly loved it. Even when she was in the middle of dressing up in one corner of the room, if she heard letter work happening with others she would join in. She always wants to play eye spy and when we do DD1 spellings she wants to do her own!! She is starting to spell phonetic words and to 'read' rather than recognise words. But this is all driven by her.

I agree kids should be allowed to play, and I think it is the private nurseries who 'hot house' kids. Other nurseries are being forced to be seen to do lessons as parents are led to believe that is good.

Gobbledigook Mon 11-Apr-05 22:29:43

Good point Beety - can actually do the socialising part at playgroup without having 'literacy' and 'numeracy' lessons.

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