Homework is a very touchy subject when it comes to very young children. This is probably because when people think of homework, they think of worksheets. That would not be developmentally appropriate for preschoolers, but homework does not have to mean worksheets. Preschoolers do not typically get homework, or at least not in the same way an older child would. The more a child practices a skill though, the better. That is all homework is after all, practice.
For preschoolers, homework can actually be quite a bit of fun since they can practice the skills that they are working on through play and exploration. In preschool, the goal of homework should be to practice a skill and to show parents how they can support their child’s learning. Here are a few things to think about when deciding whether or not to give your preschoolers homework.
WHAT THEY SHOULD BE LEARNING
As with anything in preschool, when you are planning homework activities for your preschoolers it is important to be intentional. Use your observations and assessments of your preschoolers to inform your planning. Their homework should have them working on the skills that they need the most practice with, which means that it should be individualized as much as possible.
Any homework that focuses on fine motor skills, literacy, or problem solving will benefit your preschoolers a great deal and help them reach their developmental goals. Here is a list of things you can have your preschoolers do for homework.
- Playing board games
- Scavenger hunts
- Matching games
- Letter recognition activities
- Scissor skills practice
- Simple crafts
- Sorting by color, shape, or size
- Science experiments
- Sight words games (for those that are ready)
HOW LONG SHOULD HOMEWORK TIME TAKE
Any homework that you give to your preschoolers should be open ended and allow the child to decide how long they interact with it. The more engaging their homework is, the more they will want to do it.
It is important to consider the parents’ time as well. One of the goals of homework in preschool is to teach parents how they can support their child’s learning and development. If the homework takes too long, or is too complicated, the parents will be less likely to have their child do it. Design your preschoolers’ homework to be activities that the parent can engage with them for a time, and then the child can continue on their own if they choose to.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU ASSIGN HOMEWORK
In preschool, homework should never be required. You want your preschoolers to want to do it. If the homework that you give to your preschoolers is fun and engaging, and easy for their parents to implement, your preschoolers will look forward to doing it. You could assign homework every night, or just for over the weekends. It is completely up to you, there is no right or wrong answer to how often you should give your preschoolers homework.
It is important to make any homework that you give to your preschoolers fun. The goal is to foster a love of learning after all. Make sure that your preschoolers’ homework is something that they will get a lot out of, even if they only work on it for a few minutes.