Q:

Our school says to leave the teaching of students to the teachers in our daughters' preschool. Should we not supplement the learning experience at home as well? -- Would-be Teacher

A:

We're not 100 percent sure what the school means by this. They are probably referring to formal teaching of reading and math. This could include teaching your children phonics and sight words and basic addition. Why don't you ask them exactly what they mean?

While you don't have to use workbooks and worksheets to prepare your children to read and do math, there are things in these areas that you definitely need to be doing.

As far as reading goes, the best way to prepare children to read is by reading to them. When you read, occasionally point out what a word is. You also should run your finger under words as you are reading from time to time so they get the idea that reading is done from left to right. And do familiarize them with the parts of a book (front, back, illustrations). Also, read words to them from traffic signs and menus.

You can and should teach preschoolers the basic concepts of numbers to prepare them for the more academic instruction given at school. This begins by having them sort objects into collections. Then they can order objects by physically putting them in size order. You should also teach them to count rotely to familiarize them with the names of numbers.