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  • Back On Track Early Childhood Professionals

Why you won't find worksheets in my classroom

What you will find is play based, hands on learning and loads of fun, interesting and challenging activities.

You may have guessed I am not a fan of worksheets in the early childhood classroom.

When I visit an early learning centre or view a post on social media and I see children doing educational worksheets my blood boils and I get a little hot under the collar.

This is my WHY!

With 30+ years of working in the sector I have seen many trends and changes come and go. Admittedly when I first started in the sector and when my children were young, we all did worksheets or purchased workbooks to ‘teach’ our children their letters and numbers, it was acceptable and the done thing and a part of school readiness.

However, times have changed (thankfully)

I’m happy to say as early childhood has taken a swing towards more play-based, hands-on learning, following children’s interests the focus has shifted towards developing children’s social, emotional and language skills and the focus on academics or cognitive development has become less important.

We know when a child’s social and emotional needs are being met their academic learning will follow. We also, know when children feel safe and secure in their learning environment, their academic learning will naturally flow through their curiosity, imaginations and play.

Why I don’t like worksheets

  • They have a single correct way to complete the task and no room for error and children feel very pressured to please the adult by completing the task correctly. Research shows that children learn more through open ended experiences, with no expected outcome other than creativity, problem solving and building their skill base.

  • Worksheets are abstract and children learn better through using concrete materials, for example stones with the numbers 1-10 printed on them that they can touch manipulate and look at.

What would be a better option?

  • Offering a drawing table with loads of different shaped and sized paper, scissors, glue sticks and different types of drawing implements for example pens, pencils and textas and mixed medium.

  • Unlimited opportunities to experiment, discover, discuss play, draw, snip and create in a fun and creative way, with no expected outcome.

  • Learning letters and numbers through songs, rhymes and finger plays

  • Counting using games, objects, natural resources and objects that can be lined up and manipulated.

  • Name recognition experiences using play dough, sand or paint.

A little fun fact for you as a parent, your child will do hundreds of “worksheets” once they start school, they will experience their first worksheet during school orientation.

I believe that working on their hand strength, pencil grip, cutting and pasting skills, sitting correctly and feeling confident, safe and secure are what’s important. And the best way to develop all these skills is through open ended experiences like what I described above…..NOT worksheets.

The Fact is worksheets are not developmentally appropriate for preschool aged children and have no place in the early childhood setting.

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