Overview of preschool

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Overview of preschool

During the preschool years, that's a time when children have mastered walking and talking. This would really be between three and five years, until they are ready for Kindergarten. During that developmental age of children is wanting to gain competence in things. This one of the important aspects, they want to gain mastery. That's why you'll see a child go out and ride the tricycle in the yard. When they finally learn to ride it, they want to ride it everyday just to feel how strong they are. It's not like they think it's theirs, but they have a hard time giving up their turn because they really want to have mastery. The same with a puzzle. A child might do a puzzle, they'll put it back, and they will do the same puzzle over and over again. They want to develop mastery. They want to develop mastery with their bodies, so you do have to let children take some physical risks. Certainly, if there is a physical risk that has potential danger in it, you are not going to do it without spotting them, so that you are there and help them if they need that. Children like to climb on things that are high. They like to do things that have them feel bigger. They want to have a sense of initiative and making things happen in the world. During that time, there is a lot of time for children. This is why school is a great place for them at this age, because they also have to work out the social interactions and the social play. That means that they have to learn to develop some aspect of give and take. There we go.

See Mary Hartzell, MEd's video on Overview of preschool...


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Mary Hartzell, MEd

Author & Parent Educator

Mary Hartzell has over 30 years experience working with children, parents and teachers. She is the director of The First Presbyterian Nursery School, a nationally recognized early childhood program in Santa Monica, California. She is co-author of Parenting from the Inside Out and also has created a series of CDs on Parent/Child Relationships. Her parent education classes and her private consulting practice have benefited hundreds of families.

Mary began her career teaching in the public school system and completed her master’s degree in early childhood education and psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles. She taught in the early childhood unit at the UCLA Lab School and supervised student teachers. 

Mary is the mother of three grown children and has four grandchildren. During the years she was raising her own children she taught in the gifted program of the Los Angeles Unified Schools, primarily in South Central L.A. For the past 20 years Mary has been a workshop presenter at national, state and local conferences of the National Association of the Education of Young Children. She has been a lecturer at UCLA extension and is adjunct faculty at Santa Monica Community College in their early childhood department. She also provides workshops, teacher education and consulting with schools throughout the United States.

Mary has served as president of the North Bay Chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children, Vice President of the Association of the Child Development Specialists. She was the recipient of the first Pediatric Aids Foundation’s “Hero’s Award” for her work with children and parents.

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