Did you know that homework can be, and often is, sent home for preschoolers? Do you think this is reasonable, or are you wondering whether this is even a good idea? You’re not alone, in either case, even I am getting various suggestions from parents and teachers regarding homework. As a policy we have never given homework to children but we are definitely ready to debate and discuss this issue raised by parent-teacher community.
I knew our child would eventually bring homework home, but I never expected it to happen at the preschool level. However, our parents and teachers report that homework in preschool is definitely happening. Is this completely crazy, or does it set a child up with a solid foundation as she goes through the rest of her school years?
Setting a foundation
Many parents we talked to felt that, within reason, homework at the preschool age helps set an important foundation. The type of homework sent home at this age varies from school to school, but most don’t make it overwhelming for the child and her parents. Often the tasks are simple, such as tracing a letter or practice writing their name. “I think it’s totally reasonable,” shares one of the parent. “It starts the homework habit early and gets the parents involved. Also, it helps the parents to know what they are learning during the day so they can reinforce it at home.”
“Nuha gets little homework assignments and I think it’s fun and involves us at home in her projects at school,” explains one of our teacher. “Usually it involves her cutting pictures out of a magazine for their colour books or bringing in something, like leaves. I think it sets them up to know that someone from home can help them with their work.”
Different types of homework
Some moms feel that regular, daily “busy work” homework is unnecessary for this age — but little projects every now and then are not only a good idea, but they can be lots of fun, too. “Simran’s KG class had ‘homework’ once,” says one of our parent. “They were told to learn the name and qualities of vegetables cooked at home everyday and share it the class next day. That kind of stuff gets parents involved, which I like. If she was sent home with pages of actual work I’d be a little upset — it’s not necessary.”
Another parent, thought the idea was, as she put it, stupid. “I think that’s unfair to the parents and disrespectful of everything else that is going on in people’s lives,” she says. Being involved in your child’s education starts from the day they are born, and it doesn’t stop when they go to school. Parent involvement is critical when it comes to your child’s success, and although preschool can seem like glorified day care, it really isn’t. Your kiddo is learning important social skills, classroom structure and how to be a good student — in addition to beginner academics. Having — and continuing to have — an interest in her schooling is a good habit for parents to get into. This also helps you be prepared to support your child throughout her education.
That being said, the parents we spoke to were about half and half on the necessity of homework for children this small. Being involved doesn’t have to mean helping your child with homework every day, especially for a 2 or 3-year-old who just wants to come home and play with blocks.
How do you feel? There’s a long-running debate on the benefits of homework. The purpose of homework is to bridge the gap between children’s learning at school and at home, but just how relevant is it to the modern generation? Let us know in the comments.
In my honest opinion, as shared in our previous blog, homework should be set at such a level that children can do with little or no help of the parents/elders at home. Is it possible at this age, probably not. Then what should we do? I have an answer for that too but I would like to read your suggestions first.
Note: The author is Founder-Director of Gyankriti. The views expressed here are personal.