By Adrianna Arnaud. Kindergarten Worksheet. Published at Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 - 02:57:38 AM.
This page came about because I receive many questions from teachers looking for worksheets for their Pre-K or Kindergarten classes. This deeply saddens me because while that teacher is taking the time to look for worksheets on the internet he or she could be using that time to search the internet for valuable teaching ideas that will benefit their students so much more than a worksheet ever could. I realize that some of you may be angered by the implication that worksheets are not good teaching practice or even harmful. My goal is to provide information only, if you choose to read it you can agree or disagree with my views, but at least I have put my message out there. A new “code name” for worksheets is “morning work.” What a child really needs in the morning is a warm greeting from the teacher and interaction with peers! My No More Letter of the Week page that also fits with this theme.
What is a Worksheet? A worksheet is paper and pencil. There are no other materials used in conjunction with the worksheet. These include handwriting practice sheets and coloring pages. Sometimes parents like to pull out manipulative for math worksheets to help the child “build” the answer. I still count these as worksheets. You really only need the manipulative anyway, and the child will get far more out of the lesson if he writes his own equations rather than writing an answer down on a worksheet. A worksheet is not a printable that is used to enhance a hands on activity. Do you see the difference here? When we use a hands on material like unifix cubes to help solve problems on a worksheets, it’s not okay. But if the worksheet (or printable) is used to enhance the activity such as counting mats, it’s okay. The worksheet should be an afterthought, not the reason for the manipulative. With that in mind, lets talk about why worksheets should not be in the early childhood setting.
The mere accomplishment of the worksheet task does not signify the child’s ability to read or comprehend. If worksheets are the answer then why haven’t we replaced teachers with copy machines?
My kids like them. Wait, doesn’t this contradict a point I made above? Not really. If my kids want to sit at the table while I’m making dinner and do a few worksheets, I don’t have a problem with that. It can be relaxing for them. It’s not a replacement for other learning because I wouldn’t be teaching right then anyway… and I don’t have the space or time to set up a big hands-on learning center while the stove is on, the baby is crying, and the toddler is hanging on my leg. Sometimes a parent or teacher just needs a break. You’re going to use worksheets once in a while? I won’t judge you. Planning hands-on activities takes time and resources we don’t always have. Sometimes we just need something simple. Like when you’re 9 months pregnant to the day and the baby shows no sign of making an appearance. My bottom line? A steady diet of worksheets is bad news. For some preschoolers, worksheets are never appropriate. For preschoolers who enjoy them, I don’t think worksheets are harmful every once in a while for a change of pace. For older kids, worksheets are appropriate when nothing else will do the job. Thoughtful teachers and homeschooling will strive to limit their use of worksheets in favor of activities which promote higher-level thinking and hands- on experiences.
Homework, “My kids beg for worksheets because they want to be like their older siblings and do “real” homework. There’s nothing wrong with sending a few worksheets home, it’s not like we’re doing them at school. FALSE. When we send worksheets home for “homework” we are sending the message to parents that worksheets are the way that young children learn best. Most parents are not professional educators, it’s our job to not only do what is best for our students but to also educate their parents about what is best as well, if we don’t then who will? Many parents don’t know any other way to help their children at home other than worksheets and workbooks. For this reason we hold a “Homework Night” early in the school year every year to educate our parents about how they can help their children at home. Our presentation includes information on how worksheets are not appropriate for young children and why. We explain that worksheets teach children that there is only one right answer and they do not allow children to think for themselves. We explain how writing on paper with lines (two solid and a dotted line in the middle) is not appropriate for certain ages and why (visual acuity, fine motor not developed enough, creates frustration and lack of desire to write etc) We also tell parents that there is a difference between their young child and older siblings and how older children are more developmentally ready to profit from using worksheets occasionally. Then, we introduce our homework program and show the parents specific ways they can help their children at home each night.
FALSE. Following written directions? I find this statement very disturbing because preschoolers and kindergarteners can’t read, how can they be following any written directions? “The mere accomplishment of the worksheet task does not signify the child’s ability to read or comprehend.” As for the fine motor part of the statement, there are many more appropriate types of activities children can be doing to develop their fine motor skills than doing a worksheet, again, I find this to be a cop out. It’s easier to copy a worksheet and slap it on the table in front of the student rather than carefully planning out activities that will really engage them and develop their fine motor abilities at the same time.
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