If you have a child that is turning 5 this year, you are no doubt considering your options for Kindergarten, and possibly wondering if your child is ready for the rigors of a structured classroom. Many parents feel pressured that if they don’t start early enough, their child will struggle. Simply turn on the TV and flip to just about any “children’s” station and you’ll be inundated with commercials telling you that your 18 month old can read, or challenging you to help your 2 year old learn to add and subtract! And while there are numerous studies lauding the benefits of early academic enrichment, how is a parent to strike that all-important balance of letting a kid still be a kid? A high quality Pre-K tutoring program, such as the one offered by Club Z!, can make a big difference!
The Importance of Early Childhood Education
The National Association for the Education of Young Children, a professional organization promoting excellence in early childhood education, praises the value of play in teaching children to build cognitive, social and physical skills. A good early childhood enrichment plan should incorporate play into its programming. This allows children to build pre-reading and pre-math skills naturally, and avoids making the learning process a negative or forced experience. That in turn helps children develop a love of learning and a natural ability to problem solve and develop higher level thinking. For example, letting your toddler play with plastic measuring cups helps him figure out how the cups nest into one another based on size and shape and also allows him to apply those same early critical thinking skills to other shapes and objects. And surprise – it ends up sneaking in important building blocks for geometry and other basic math!
Finding a High-Quality Pre-K Program
Early enrichment programs focused solely on drilling information and helping children memorize facts and figures, without the incorporation of play, seem to gather the most criticism. For example, in a 2011 article in the New York Times, Allisaon Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley (ranked #20 by U.S. News amongst all national universities) had this to say about such “drill and skill” programs, “The best you can say is that they’re useless,” said Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who compared the escalation of supplemental education with Irish elk competing to see which had the biggest antlers. “The result is that they go around tottering, unable to walk, under the enormous weight of these antlers they’ve developed,” she said. “I think it’s true of American parents from high school all the way down to preschool.”
Parental Involvement in Kindergarten Readiness Preparation
As parents, one of our primary roles is to help our children develop into independent, capable adults. It doesn’t hurt to help a child begin flexing those cognitive muscles early in life, but balancing it out with healthy doses of play, imagination, and make-believe seem to offer the most well-rounded and effective approach. Some simple ways to do this are to participate as a partner in your child’s play by taking on assigned roles, imitating him and letting him imitate you; encourage your child’s thoughts and ideas throughout each day by listening and offering opportunities for her to talk to you about what she’s doing; and make sure your child has plenty of opportunities to express himself – verbally and also through crayons, stickers, clay, etc.
Club Z!’s Pre-K Program Makes a Difference
Parents who are interested in taking it a step further are encouraged to check out the Club Z! Kindergarten readiness program, Let the Learning Begin™, which is designed for children ages 3-5. Each lesson in the program is designed to take place in a one-hour time span, with 30 minutes dedicated to tutor-initiated activities and 30 minutes dedicated to child-initiated activities. Tutor-initiated activities include any lesson or activity that is selected by the tutor. Child-initiated activities include any lesson or activity that is selected by the student. This can take the form of structured or un-structured play – the child can either choose to engage in a lesson plan/activity relative to their expressed interest, or they can simply choose to engage in open play time. The tutor’s role is to relate the activity or the open play time to the cognitive, emotional/social, language and/or motor skill development goals associated with that day’s theme.
After 20 years in the tutoring industry, we’ve learned a few things about what it takes to help students succeed.Sure, we may be biased, but we truly believe that no other tutoring company cares as much about its clients, or goes to as much trouble to ensure their satisfaction and success as Club Z! Our personal touch is evident in everything from the initial consultation with you and your child to the placement of a perfectly matched tutor. This commitment to quality and academic success truly makes The Club Z! Difference. Our tutors are thoroughly screened and background checked prior to hiring. Through our proprietary “Z! Tutor Match” system, we go to great lengths to match them with students based on personality, learning preferences, and academic strengths and weaknesses. And with our “Z! Guarantee” you get the right tutor every time, guaranteed!
The Z! Tutor Match
Our proprietary Z! Tutor Match process ensures that we match the right tutor to your child every time! In fact, we’re so confident that you’ll love our tutors, we guarantee the match. Through our Z! Guarantee program, if you are unsatisfied with the tutor selected for your child, simply let us know and we’ll make a more suitable match ASAP. It’s that simple! How can we be this confident? Our Z! Tutor Match is made based on the following 4 criteria:
- Academic Strengths: Our tutors are experts in their subject area(s) and are matched with your student based on his/her academic weaknesses. Many of our tutors are certified teachers, and all possess an educational degree and relevant tutoring experience. In addition, all are thoroughly screened and background checked prior to receiving a student assignment.
- Availability: Our tutors are matched with your student based on your scheduling preferences. Whether it’s after school, weekends, evenings, or during academic breaks, our tutors can accommodate even the busiest academic or athletic schedules.
- Personality: We match our tutors with your student based on complementary personality traits. The introduction of an encouraging third party with whom your student can relate can often restart a fresh flow of learning. Plus, the same tutor will teach the child every time so that rapport can develop.
- Teaching Style: Our tutors are matched with your student based on his/her preferred learning style. Our tutors are effective because they understand the personality, interests, and learning style of their students. We believe that when a student is seen as a whole, both learning and self-esteem can flourish.
Whatever path you take, parental involvement in your child’s early education is a critical component to successful cognitive, emotional, social, physical and language development. Listen to your children. Give them an opportunity to grow naturally into their own persons. And praise them often.
“Parents and families play an enormous role in shaping a child’s social and emotional development. Early relationships with parents lay the foundation on which social competency and peer relationships are built. Parents who support positive emotional development interact with their children affectionately; show consideration for their feelings, desires and needs; express interest in their daily activities; respect their viewpoints; express pride in their accomplishments; and provide encouragement and support during times of stress. This support greatly increases the likelihood that children will develop early emotional competence, will be better prepared to enter school, and less likely to display behavior problems at home and at school. This is why many preschool programs include a focus on parent involvement.”
– National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Early Childcare Research Network (2002)
To find out more about how Club Z! can help your child prepare for Kindergarten, call 800-434-2582 (CLUB).