The Story of a Mom, a Wife a Small-Business-Owner-Hopeful (Happy Baby Designs) and a Craft Lover, trying to be present (not just exist) in my life with my children, my husband and myself. Follow along with me as I chronicle my crafting and business endeavors, my true life and some mommy moments along the way .

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

“What Should a 4 Year Old Know?”

This is the first year I’ve put my son in preschool.  He’s almost 4 and up until last Fall, he was at home with me 24/7.  But I felt that he was ready for some type of social interaction in a “school” setting.  So he goes to “school” one day a week at our church.  And he loves it.  He loves his friends, his teacher, the playground, eating lunch at school, doing art projects, show and tell.  But unfortunately, the owner of the school has decided not to return next year.  So we were forced to find another preschool.  After looking into other preschools, I quickly realized that I am in the minority.  I am not concerned about whether or not my son is reading by the time he gets to kindergarten.   I’m not concerned about whether or not he can write is name perfectly.  I’m not concerned about whether or not he can recognize an uppercase “P” from a lowercase “p”.  I’m not concerned about whether or not he can draw a self-portrait.  I just want him to love school.

A friend of mine posted a link to an article on Facebook entitled, “What Should a 4 Year Old Know?”.  And I was so glad to read a perspective that was in line with my husband’s and my way of thinking.  If you have children (even if they’re not 4), you need to read this article. 

In short, every 4 year old should know the following: 

- “that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time”

- “that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe”

- “how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination”

- “know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them”

- “that the world is magical and that so is she”

And every parent should know the following:

- “every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra”

- “the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children”

- “being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest”

- “our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them”

- “our children need more of us”

- “They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they're a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.”

This article is so beautifully written and it’s such a wonderful reminder to let our kids be kids while they’re still kids.  And it’s ok to let them play in the rain.  They’re learning more by splashing around in puddles than they could learn from that battery-operated-blinking-lights-noise-making toy.



  1. You are so right about what a 4 year old should know and I'm guessing you will be in the minority about school for many years to come. I know how you feel being in the minority on education. My girls are 17 and almost 19 and while I believe nearly everyone should go to college and expect my girls to go, I don't believe it is necessary or even worth it*. By the last comment I mean paying private college tuition or out of state tuition and getting into debt in order to get a degree. I've seen the stress it creates on a young person who graduates and is $80,000 or more in debt and can't find a job in their field of study.
    You won't have to worry about college for awhile...but coming up in a couple of years you'll feel the pressure to enroll you child in all kinds of activities that will make your life crazy. Don't fall for that one either.
    Sorry to be so long winded, but you are on the right path!

  2. that is so sweet and so true. thanks for sharing!

  3. I could not agree more. You said it all just right, and that article looks amazing. I am all about happy healthy kids with big hearts and imagination.

  4. i am guilty of doing too much at times. i guess it is the eager beaver educator in me. poor kid, two educators as parents, although having a montessori certified teacher helps with the notion that all learning is applied, tactile, and go with the flow of what the child wants and needs...makes for a creative day and keeps me on my toes. Thanks for posting this, it helps bring me down to earth

  5. Thank you- I agree with you. My daughter did not go to preschool at all before kindergarten, and my son is in a very small program (he goes 1 hour 4 days a week) mainly for the socialization. I often felt guilty for not putting my daughter in a program, but in Georgia, where we lived at the time Pre-k was 5 days a week and full days mandatory if they enrolled. I just thought it was too long and they were just going to have her napping there most of the time anyways. But my point was, she is know in 1st grade and at the top of her class, she is doing just fine, and not at all stressed out. My son was not writing and I was getting worried, but it had more to do with his need for glasses than he lack of formal eduction on writing. I am confident he will be fine in Kindergarten as well. They are going to learn and I don't think we should force too much learning too quickly. I also believe we are a population have forgotten that children learn the most through play- that is their job at this age. There is plenty of time to be driven.

    Just Thank you and you are not alone!


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