Joanna Naïla August 10, 2020 Worksheets
Both lower-level-thinking worksheets and too many (even high quality) worksheets can hold students back by not providing stimulus and challenge. Studies have shown for years (just do a Google search!) that children learn best through active involvement and real-life experiences. Virtually every teacher knows that children learn to read by being exposed to books and by being read to, NOT by completing worksheets. The same applies to all areas of learning.
I have said ”Don’t Use Worksheets” about every way there is to say it, and each time I have included solid brain-based, researched reasons for this statement; and yet, I know that many people will ignore the science in favor of the convenience. It is very difficult to fight the tide when there are so many internet sites pushing worksheets at parents, and so many reputable textbook companies doing likewise. It is difficult to remember the reasons to avoid them when one has very little time to devote to working with math. Worksheets just seem so much easier than doing things any other way. Can they really cause harm?
Even the youngest students–kindergarteners–will benefit from printable worksheets. They will help your little one learn and master basic concepts in way that will capture and hold their attention. Remember that small kids enjoy doing things rather than simply reading or listening. For this reason, attractive, well-illustrated worksheets with something to do will make learning fun for them. What’s more, completing your worksheet will give the child a tremendous sense of fulfillment.
Whatever your motivation for looking for worksheets for preschool, there are a few points to consider before you decide which ones you want.
If you must use worksheets, then be sure you do the following 6 things:1. Know what you are buying. If you can’t see it (there is no sample shown), then do not buy it. There are many people out there trying to make a buck off the current popularity of worksheets. Many, if not most, of these people know nothing about mathematics, teaching, or how the brain learns. Anyone can type columns of addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. problems; but these worksheets will be bad for your child. Don’t trust what you can’t see.
3. If the materials do not specifically indicate ”brain-based,” determine if they are at least ”brain-friendly.” This would mean that you are looking for lots of color, material interesting to the child, many varied activities-especially involving movement, and using several of the senses. I saw one company whose worksheets included the instruction to ”say the number out loud as you…” This is very good! Speaking out loud is very important for learning to occur. Ideally, all worksheets should include this instruction. If you can’t find any that do, then you need to add that instruction yourself.
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