Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

October 19, 2009

Going Back to Kindergarten

Filed under: Personal Stories,Schools and Learning — Erin @ 10:50 pm

I recently had a chance to go back to kindergarten.  The school that Abbie, my 5 year old daughter, attends affords parents a number of opportunities to volunteer, and so last week I volunteered to help out in the classroom.  I found the experience incredibly rewarding on a number of levels.

First, as a parent I was able to experience what Abbie does in school so it helps me to better connect with her around classroom experiences.  Since I now have a better understanding of her school day I am able to ask direct questions about her day rather than “how was school?”.  This certainly helps to get the conversation over dinner moving in a  good direction.

Second, Abbie was thrilled to have me in the class.  She was clearly proud that I was the first Dad to help out in class and that both her parents had been in her class to help out.  Nothing like scoring some points with your little one ;-)

Finally, I was able to observe ~20 kindergarten students develop important language & literacy skills.  One of the great challenges for teachers (especially kindergarten teachers) is the variability in skill level of students.  Some students will come into kindergarten reading, others might still be struggling to recognize letters.  I witnessed this variability in the classroom and unfortunately one of the students had already developed a belief that “I am not very good at letters.”  He said this as he watched his classmates finish an exercise with ease while he struggled a bit.  This  is a shame and potentially a damaging point of view for this child to have.

One of the great things about having children play educational games is that they are able to progress at their own rate without being self conscious about how they are performing with respect to other children.  Numerous studies have shown that the ability to “self pace” in educational games is one of the reasons they are so effective at helping people learn.  In addition to self pacing, many educational games are able to adapt to a child’s abilities, and therefore it helps provide children with the appropriate balance of challenging work and the opportunity to build self confidence in their abilities.

Hopefully more parents will see these benefits and decide to use a service like Zoodles to have their children play safe, fun and educational games.

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