By Rachelle Hebert. Kindergarten Worksheet. Published at Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 - 01:30:07 AM.
As a parent and educator, when I walk into an environment with early learners, whether that be in a home school setting or preschool setting, I want to see those kids engaged in their learning. Young children should be manipulating materials, testing hypothesis, and exploring the world around them. No matter where I look, I should not see a child doing a workbook. Worksheets are not appropriate for young children for many reasons. Let me start off by explaining what a worksheet means to me.
Worksheets can be a cop-out. Sound a little harsh? My opinion is that teachers and homeschooling who rely on worksheets are choosing not to find ways to really challenge and interest their kids. It’s the easy way out. Worksheets might not allow higher level thinking. Most worksheets have just one right answer, or one way to complete them. If we consistently keep our kids inside a box, they won’t be able to stretch. Teachers who use worksheets may not be teaching what their students are ready to learn. It really, really makes me cringe when a teacher or homeschooling parent has an entire year’s worth of worksheets printed and ready to go before the school year starts. (And yes, I’m including pre-printed workbooks here.) How do you know that’s what your child will need to learn? Maybe your first grader struggles with addition in August. But she could have a firm grasp on it by December. Are you still going to give her all those pre-printed worksheets or have her complete every page in that workbook? Challenge her with something new.
In my opinion, an occasional worksheet doesn’t hurt. Many educators would disagree with me on this one, and I respect their opinion. But I think that when worksheets are the exception, rather than the rule, of what we give our kids (even preschoolers), it’s okay. I do think that we should never force young children to do worksheets. If your preschooler is not interested in (or even resists) a worksheet, Put. It. Away. You may also find that your preschooler is excited about a worksheet but wants to stop after a few problems. Let him!. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to teach kids to sit for a few minutes and complete a simple pencil-and-paper assignment. And for young kids, I mean it when I say “a few minutes.” Thirty minutes is not a few. Worksheets might be a useful assessment tool. If your child is doing a worksheet on a learned skill, you might see what he understands and what you need to revisit. In the early childhood community, however, some educators believe that worksheets are inappropriate for this age level and may not tell you what a student truly understands.
If I put out apples and a big bowl of candy for snack the majority of my students would choose the candy, but as a professional educator I would never put out the bowl of candy because I know it’s not good for them. I would have to peel and slice the apples to get the kids to eat them, it would be more work for me, but the apples are better for them than the candy so that is what I would do. The same holds true for worksheets, I know that there are better ways to teach so I don’t offer worksheets to my students so they aren’t faced with making a choice between an appropriate and inappropriate activity. FALSE. Balance? Balance what? It’s o.k. to have a balance of inappropriate and appropriate activities in your classroom? So some parts of the day the children are receiving appropriate instruction and other parts they are not? That statement just doesn’t make sense. If worksheets are inappropriate then why is a “little bit” of anything inappropriate o.k.?.
Worksheets Do Not Allow for Higher Level Thinking. Again, worksheets are there for spitting out information. Where is the thinking in that? Hands on manipulation of objects, gives children the opportunity to create hypothesis, test them out, and use their problem solving and critical thinking skills to completely understand how it works. Worksheets May Be “Teaching” What a Child is Not Ready For or Interested In. This is more towards workbooks, especially if you follow the workbook page by page. Just because the workbook says it’s for 3 year olds, does not mean your child is ready for it.
Worksheets Leave No Room to Challenge The Norm. This is a huge one for me. When I taught in the public schools, we were told to get kids to think for themselves and defend their answers. But, their answers and evidence must match the teacher’s guide and test answer key. Really? How is it possible to get a child to think for themselves and defend their position, but also be correct 100% of the time according to an answer key? It’s just not possible! I look at it this way, if a child can defend their answer to any question using evidence then it’s correct whether the answer key says so or not. In 20 years, do we want people running this country who only know how to give one answer, or do we want people who can be creative and think outside the box?
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