MY three and four-year old Grandkids are in preschool, and have started bringing home worksheets for homework.  Letter tracing and recognition, cutting and pasting seem to be the norm so far. IS this to prepare them for the rigors of KINDERGARTEN? Just to be clear – I’m not bashing their preschool – they seem to love it BUT I am speaking out to inform adults  and support children who just need to be allowed to be children. THEY LEARN BY HAVING PLENTY OF TIME to do learning THEIR way-FOR EVEN As you think they are just “playing around” …there is a LOT of learning going on in those amazing brains! AND KIDS NEED TO MOVE AND TALK AND LAUGH AND MOVE AND TOUCH AND MOVE AND SHOUT AND TALK AND RUN AND JUMP AND SPIN…..sitting passively would not be their first choice of engaging with the world…for most.

AS a retired first-grade teacher with a MS in Reading Education, some of the issues I have with preschool homework are:

  • THERE is no research suggesting that this type of “homework” does anything to help children succeed in school and often frustrates kids who should be moving around and experiencing the real world; and parents who may not understand how children learn best.
  • Research shows that preschoolers learn best through hands-on play.
  •  If parents don’t understand childhood development, they may get VERY VERY frustrated if their little one can’t do what is being asked, and believe there is something wrong with their child-  NEVER EVER EVER a good way to start your child’s formal educational experiences…..
  • SO you may be setting the stage for a child feeling like a failure when they are simply not developmentally ready to do what is being asked-  AGAIN…NEVER EVER a good way to help your child LOVE learning!

SO….if preschools feel they MUST give homework to a three and four-year old, I have some suggestions:


  •  Ask why?? OR just don’t do it.  YES – boycott but NEVER let your child know you don’t support their school or teacher.  THIS is a recipe for letting your child manipulate you later on when things don’t go their way.
  •  If you want to do it with your child, fine – but make it a FUN experience and follow your child’s lead



  • Read a book to your child every day
  • Take your child to a local library and let them pick books that you read to them on a daily basis and get them a library card
  • Take a walk outside in the fresh air and talk about all you see along the way
  • LET your child cook with you
  • Plant a garden with your child
  • PLAY outside, run, swing, ride bikes, jump rope


  • Set up a desk for your little one with pens, crayons, markers and plenty of paper and let them create whatever they like
  • Have child friendly scissors available and let them practice cutting
  • Have  glue handy to use when they cut out paper so they can create
  • Have  chalk and chalkboard handy – or whiteboard and dry erase markers so they can doodle to their heart’s content
  • AS you read,  ask them to predict what they think will happen next
  • BEFORE you read a book, do a “picture walk” and ask your child to tell you what’s happening based on the pictures – this encourages a LOT of great language and helps with comprehension
  • Talk about what happens first, next and last in a story.
  • AS you read, help your child relate the book to their world “YOU have a red bike just like Johnny!” Helping your child make real world connections as they read creates a great habit that fosters comprehension.
  • When they show interest, have them point out letters they know on a page, count the words, find small words they know, find words that look the same ,  count the letters in a word, make it fun and like a BIG game!
  • Rhyme rhyme and rhyme some more – play with language
  • Have GREAT conversations where you listen and respond to the 1,000,0000,00000 questions preschoolers have
  • DO puzzles
  • Read to them daily
  • Let them see you reading, and writing
  • ASK them to tell you a story and write their words for them – have them illustrate
  • WHEN they are ready – have them notice words and letters all around them – as you walk through malls, take drives, etc
  • Take them to the grocery store, museums, restaurants, libraries, nature centers, zoos, etc – and talk about all the things they notice

SO PLEASE parents….if your three and four-year old is bringing home worksheets, don’t sweat it – if it’s fun for you and your child – great but  PLEASE don’t let it take the place of real reading, writing, experiences, play and conversation – THESE are the things that support early childhood literacy and learning.

PLEASE be respectful of your toddler’s teachers.  Speak your mind, but do so with the idea that you both want what is best for your child.  YOU are a team.

HAVE FUN with your preschooler. YOU are setting the stage for life-long learning and want it to be a wondrous joyous journey for both you and your child.