If you would like new posts to come directly to your email. Please enter your email here.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Warning: Using Worksheets and Other Elementary Teaching Materials Could put your Accreditation in Jeopardy

I am writing this blog post as as a warning to any Early Childhood Centers that are NAEYC accredited . As a professional in Early Childhood who is certified in helping ECE Centers gain Accreditation, I was very concerned to hear recently of a program in ECE using worksheets. The use of worksheets, flashcards and other elementary school type learning tools  are strictly against appropriate practices. You are putting your accreditatin in danger. NAEYC  is very strict and serious about Developmentally Appropriate Practices. DAP  materials are hands-on, 3-dimensional, and children make choices to interact with the activity.

 Coloring sheets are one thing and also usually frowned upon. Pencil, pen, crayon, activities asking children to circle, draw a line, or anything other than coloring is in no way Developmentally Appropriate Practice. I have seen centers go on probation and even lose their accreditation over these types of activities

Children who spend less time on active play and interaction actually have a harder time in school. Early learning is all about interaction children in preschool should NEVER be given a worksheet of any kind.

DAP is the foundation of our education form. Chiosing what is appropriate is a centers and teachers most important obligation. Just for the reinforcement  children ages three to five needs hands-on, 3-dimensional activities they can be physically and mentally engaged in, handouts, worksheets, and flash cards are in no way appropriate! Read more about Developmentally Appropriate Activities. Here Let me make a clarification point here. This is not talking about limiting learning. It is only saying the learning materials need to be hands-on and 3-D for, instance teaching the alphabet using magnetic letters children can manipulate.


  1. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! Surely it can't be true. If children are made to wait until they are six before they can be instructed using paper and pencil, it is a serious mistake and a great disadvantage to children. I personally have taught many children to write their letters, manuscript AND cursive, and do math, including addition problems in the age bracket of 3-5 years old! NAEYC needs to dig a bit deeper to find what really is Developmentally Appropriate. I can personally say, also, that I taught my own 3 children and they finished first and second grade workbooks and curriculum, and were happily doing third grade curriculum and many workbook pages when they were 5, and they all 3 graduated as National Merit Finalists. You said that "Children who spend less time on active play and interaction actually have a harder time in school." This did NOT ring true for the children I taught. Let's make sure that preschool education is helping each child reach their full potential!!!! Let's not hold them back when they are willingly ready to soar. If this is true about NAEYC policy, I just lost all respect for them and any school that chooses to be NAEYC accredited. This is a shame! A dreadful, serious shame. Our children deserve better.

  2. I am so sorry you are upset. NAEYC is an organization which bases it’s policies and procedures on extensive research and not on individual experiences. Research shows children ages 3-5 who focus on academics have more problems when it comes social/emotional development, have understanding of themselves and their place in the world, and though are academically adept have greater issues with classroom interactions.

  3. Please understand there is a Hugh difference between can and should. I wrote both a blog and article dealing. With this issue here are the links. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JJ3dpKxD7FPfOXCEe2cXdNFhBRWDZcTMjO6egIT_KuI/edit?usp=docslist_api


  4. Research IS based on individual experiences -- what children actually have done in real life experience!! Any research that is not based on what children have done and can do is not research. I have plenty of research that says the opposite of what you are saying. The children I have taught had no problems with social/emotional development. Captain of the swim team, squad leaders in band, getting parts in the school musicals, earning coach's awards because of character. . . . these children who were doing worksheets at age 3 did not miss out on the social/emotional development!! They are now in college and beyond, and have excelled and earned very generous scholarships, and remain involved in extra-curricular activities and world concerns. Children need to learn to do paper work, and actually love to do it! And the earlier the better. Who knows what is age appropriate?? I would say that if a child is able and willing and loves to do it, well then, it IS age appropriate. What will happen to preschoolers when they enter kindergarten and first grade if they never did a worksheet or learned to sit in their seat for 20 or 30 minutes to finish a paper? Teach them early, and they will excel. There is plenty of research even on YouTube -- parents who have videoed their 2-year-olds reading, really reading by sounding out new words. I have done my research. I have taught children and seen the opposite of what you say. NAEYC is dreadfully wrong, and I am sorry for the young learners who attend NAEYC schools and are not allowed to use paper and pencils. As far as the difference between can and should. . . . Children SHOULD do the worksheets, because they CAN. And children CAN do the worksheets, because someone believed that they COULD. If we are educators, where are our high expectations for these children. . . all children. . . .with great potential? Why do we think there has to be age appropriate materials? And who decides what is age appropriate? Teach children young. Have high expectations. Watch them soar! I am tired of hearing of the term "age appropriate". It is stifling our young children's education. Stop taking away some of the best tools for learning! They NEED paper and crayons and pencils! NAEYC needs a major overhaul if this is the way they think.

  5. I wrote this blog specifically to help NAEYC Accredited centers to protect their accreditation. I am not looking to argue with you or anyone else. NAEYC has set it's standards of Quality Care and has been the country's leader in the field. If you have issues with their standards please feel free to contact them. In the meantime the standard. Is hands-on, 3-d materials.

  6. With all due respect I completely disagree. I am not a daycare center, I am a teacher, director and owner of a group family daycare for over 12 years. This is one of the reason why I have never applied to get accredited by NAEYC. They support 3-d learning. That is great but to frown upon and take accreditation away from educators that introduce work books, worksheets and even coloring pages? I think this takes away the respect we should all have for children as individuals. I have seen children developing greatly by just active play and I have also witnessed other children loving the learning process of how to draw or write at a very early stage. As an artist myself one of my favorite activities is to sit and teach the children how to draw. This is a "follow instructions" activity and it will be banned immediately by the NAEYC accreditation committee specially when some of my students are as young as 18 months old. I believe that the benefits we take from experiencing a class where a teacher is passionate about something is far greater than any research done on 3-d learning. My girls love coloring, my boys love cutting and writing, why should I deprive them from these learning experiences? because I want to stay accredited and somehow look better in comparison to other centers?
    I deeply understand the importance of individuality in children, they learn and develop different from sibling and peers. In my life as a teacher I have met extrovert children that love to socialize and play while their introvert counterparts love to cuddle up to a quite activity in a corner. Both types of minds will develop greatly as long as we respect their differences, this is a major reason why standardized curriculum are not for all children. The best we can do is to foster creative learning by just allowing children to follow their passion and if a future artist needs to spend most of his/her time coloring let it be.

  7. Actually, Miss K believe it or not if I am reading your post correctly you are doing exactly what I am saying. I am so happy to hear you are teaching art. The questin here is not limiting learning it is being aware of the tools we are using to teach.