I see posts all of the time asking, “What curriculum should I use for my preschooler?” And overwhelmingly the answers are, “None. Just play.”
Studies are showing that young children need to play. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has dedicated a lot of their research to play-based learning and how important that is. And we have all heard how Scandinavian countries are promoting play-based learning over academic learning until the age of 7. See this article in the Atlantic about Finland’s Kindergarten: The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. I certainly can’t deny that my kids do some of their best learning when they are playing, exploring, experimenting, and just being a curious kid.
But some people need a regimen. Some kids are truly ready to be more academic at an earlier age. One thing I’ve learned over my 23 years as a mom is all kids do not fit into one box. There’s no one size fits all in educational philosophies. I was one of those parents looking for more academic opportunities for my preschooler. Keep in mind that the Princess was fluently reading by age 3. To her, reading chapter books and writing math problems WAS playing. So to all of those moms looking for something more academic for your preschooler, I hear you. And I agree with you that “Just play” isn’t an answer.
Just like for older students there are many different curriculum options out there. There is no one right choice. What’s right for me may not be right for you. But you want advice, so I’m going to lay out for you what I’ve tried and why I did or didn’t like it.