I believe that three-year-olds and worksheets do not mix well. It is not very productive, nor it is useful to have them fill out paper after paper. They need to do hands on activities that relate more to their world and to their passions. That is why we do not really use them, aside from when it enhances the learning in a meaningful manner: like realizing the life cycle of a butterfly keeps repeating like if it were in a circle (when we have butterflies in the classroom), naming the parts of a pumpkin (when we carve it) or writing down scientific observation for our experiments. Basically, we try to keep it engaging, meaningful, simple and to the point.
That said, sometimes I follow the kids’ lead and it takes me to unexpected places. Kids are into the pumpkins now so I was browsing Teachers Pay Teachers website, looking for some nice pumpkin pictures and decided to buy a bundle of ‘fall activities.’ It came with small cards – pictures and words next to each other – and I thought, since I have couple of 5s in the classroom, that I’ll show it to them to see what they think. They loved it. For the last 7 days or so they were going through them like crazy. And not only the 5s. The 4s and 3s are joining them too. Some copy the pictures, some make up their thing, others copy the words or just sign their name. Some like to sound it out, others just copy it but they all really enjoy it. They make letters and secret notes to each other, draw cards for their families and are so proud of themselves every step of the way. It is awesome seeing how much they enjoy this and how much they build upon it.
I am observing for now, trying to see if the interest goes away or not. But I really hope we can build on it. I love this passion and am so excited it is child-led. The kids choose it now instead of play dough, stamps or scribbling (that they usually do in the art center). I am really curious to see where this journey takes us.