By Pascale Lopez. Kindergarten Worksheet. Published at Saturday, October 12th, 2019 - 05:31:37 AM.
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.
Practice for Kindergarten, “I need to use worksheets because they need the practice for kindergarten, that’s what they’ll be doing in kindergarten”. FALSE. My job as a professional educator is to help each child be as successful as possible in my classroom. “I will not prepare my students for inappropriate practices by doing inappropriate things in my own class.” If worksheets are what they’re doing in Kindergarten then perhaps the teaching practices in those classrooms need to be examined. This is how the worksheet cycle perpetuates itself, one teacher or grade level relies heavily on worksheets for instruction and then all the other grades/teachers fall in behind them at the copy machine. I challenge teachers everywhere to break the worksheet cycle and actually teach young children instead of occupying them with worksheets. It’s just like peer pressure in high school, don’t let yourself fall victim to it.
“Worksheets typically have a ‘right answer.’ a child is expected to circle the rhyming words or match the pictures of things that start with the letter ‘G.’ children may learn quickly that putting down a wrong answer is emotionally costly. Worksheet activities may make them feel ignorant and incompetent, so that they learn to stop taking risks by guessing.” Dr. Sue Grossman
I’m not saying you should never use a worksheet, especially with those kids who LOVE them. Really you should only be using them with the kids that love them. If your child doesn’t love worksheets, you should be finding a new way to learn. Now that doesn’t mean you give them worksheets everyday, all day. Think of it this way, what if your child loved candy as much as they loved doing worksheets and they wanted to eat candy all day long? Would you let them? Most likely not. Just like candy, worksheets should be used in moderation with the ones who love doing them.
Worksheets are Too Abstract. Young children are still in Piaget’s Pre operational Stage, which means they need symbols to represent objects.These young children cannot think abstractly. For example, they need a ball in their hands to understand what a ball is. Seeing the word ball on a worksheet or sometimes even just a picture of a ball, means nothing to them. That’s why hands on learning is best because it gives the child a symbol for their thinking. Writing on Lines is Not Appropriate. A very popular type of worksheet for this age group is handwriting sheets where the child is expected to trace the letter. These are not developmentally appropriate for young children. Even though huge letters that take up the whole page may be annoying to most adults, it’s normal for a child to write this way. Their fine motor skills are not refined enough to focus on tracing small letters. I know worksheets are the easy way to give a child something to do and easy to plan, but sometimes the best things in life are not easy.
Arguments against using worksheets. Some of the worksheet quotes below are taken from the article above. “While children may have the ability to perform a task, that does not mean that the task is appropriate and should be performed” Dr. Sue Grossman. Worksheets can be used only one way. Worksheets and coloring books are generally considered convergent materials. They lead children to think that there is only a single correct way to use them, and they require little, if any, higher-order thinking. Our goal as professional educators should be lessons that encourage divergent thinking, not convergent thinking. Worksheet-based curricula dampen enthusiasm for learning. If worksheets have a place in the classroom they would be better found in classrooms of older children who have a background for working with symbols and abstractions (Bredekamp, S., 1987; Rosegrant, T., 1992). Worksheets and workbooks should be used in schools only when children are older and developmentally ready to profit from them (Bredekamp, S. & Rosegrant, T., 1992).
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