The “Smart” Kid Myth

Here at The Preschool Box, we believe that all children are capable of reaching their full potential when given the proper tools and opportunities. Every child has their own unique strengths and interests but becoming a successful student early on in school can set each child up for a lifelong love of learning and confidence in their own intelligence.

As shown in multiple psychology studies by the American Psychological Association our own intelligence is quite malleable dependent on whether we think we are capable of learning, or rather “believing you can get smarter makes you smarter”. This is why it is so important to us to help each child first discover the joy in learning and then grow her confidence with each activity or game in The Preschool Box.

We all want our kid to be the “smart” kid in class, the one that can help others learn to read or answer math problems confidently, and yet human intelligence is actually quite difficult to describe and measure. Nobody is born with a fixed IQ and our brains are muscles that need exercise just like every other muscle. Early exposure to learning in a fun environment can make every kid the “smart” kid when they get to school and being smart will help them dream large and reach for the stars.

Our goal at The Preschool Box is to help you set your child up for success, so that they will have the knowledge and confidence to believe they can do whatever they dream of achieving.

 

The Preschool Box Press Release

Local Woman Launches The Preschool Box Subscription to Inspire Fun Learning for Preschoolers and their Parents

Austin, TX – A local kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom is taking the guesswork out of preparing preschoolers for school. Austin’s newest start-up, The Preschool Box, is a monthly subscription box that focuses on providing simple activities, games and crafts that will help parents provide a fun, engaging environment for children ages 3 to 6 while preparing them for success at school. The first boxes have already started shipping!

The Preschool Box’s creator, Christina Schnell, had two primary goals in starting the business: share her passion for teaching with others and help preschoolers get excited about learning and reading.

“As a former kindergarten teacher you see so many kids coming into school very unprepared for the rigorous curriculum that kindergarten now entails. You can definitely see the difference between kids whose parents have worked with them before coming to school and those that show up with no prior learning experience,” Christina said. “I think it’s important for kids to have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and see that learning can be fun!”

To meet that goal, monthly boxes contain more than 16 different activities, crafts and games designed to teach your preschooler letters, numbers, colors, shapes and many other concepts they will encounter during that important first year of school. In addition, each box has a book, fun stickers and a parent guide to help parents explain and teach just like a kindergarten teacher would.

Christina adds, “It’s important for parents to invest in their children’s education and The Preschool Box is a great way to not only educate your children but also to spend time with them.”

The Preschool Box can be purchased at www.thepreschoolbox.com. Monthly, quarter-year, half-year, and one-year plans are available, with boxes starting at $25.00.

Kindergarten Readiness

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Back in the day when I was a kid, kindergarten was quite different than it is now.  I remember going to school and coloring the letters of the alphabet, doing fun crafts, and getting to play in centers (the sand and water table being my favorite).  Fast forward 25 years and things have changed drastically.

Now that I have actually worked as a kindergarten teacher, it’s amazing to see how things have changed, and continue to change over the years. Nap time is no longer a thing in most kindergarten classrooms.  Centers and play time is a thing that is occasionally crammed into the end of the day if there’s any time left, or if the teacher is just done trying to teach the poor, exhausted children anything more for that day. 

Kindergarteners are now expected to be reading by the end of the year.  And I’m not talking about reciting a memorized story.  They are expected to actually sound out and blend words to figure out what they say.  They have to be able to read sight words such as “what,” “where,” “do,” and a very large list of others.  They are also expected to be able to write sentences.

The first week of school often seems to leave parents in quite a shock and fluster when they realize that their child may be starting kindergarten “behind.”  I’ve had several students enter my classroom being able to sing the alphabet and their parents think they are fully prepared for kindergarten.  It’s a harsh reality when they come to find out that their child is in fact not fully prepared for the rigorous standards kindergarten now entails. 

As a former educator and now parent, I can’t express enough the importance of working with your child before they ever enter an actual classroom.  Kids that enter kindergarten with prior knowledge and an educational foundation have a much higher probability of being successful in school than those who do not.  I have had several children come into my classroom and really struggle with their first year in school because they have not had their parents or anyone invest the time or energy into their education.  These kids struggle and instead of having a fun, enjoyable first year of school, they are just trying to play catch up the whole year. 

It’s so important for kids to enjoy the learning experience, and in order to do that it is absolutely necessary for them to feel successful.  Working with your kids and showing them that they are smart and are able to learn, is vital in creating a foundation for them to not only build their education on, but also their self-worth. 

The purpose of The Preschool Box is to give parents the tools to be able to easily work with and teach their kids the fundamentals of reading and math.  It’s a great way for them to work with and show their children that they value their education and want to spend quality time with them as well.  Whether you are an active subscriber to The Preschool Box or not, find ways to spend time with your kids doing fun, engaging, educational activities.  It’s super easy to plop our kids in front of a tv and let that do our job of educating, but it’s so much more meaningful and effective when the effort comes from Mom and Dad.  And the kids know it!

My Three Year Old Plays Videogames and I think I’m ok with it

My Three Year Old Plays videogames and I think I’m ok with it

I like to teach my son Owen lots of things.  At the age of two I taught him all the letters and sounds of the alphabet.  We’ve worked on numbers, counting, sight words, digraphs, and all sorts of other math and reading skills.  He’s currently 3 and we continue to extend his learning in many different areas.  I’m very proud of how smart my little guy is.  I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for teaching him all these things at such an early age.  But, there is one thing I’ve struggled to be proud of, and that is this.  My three year old plays videogames.  And he does it well.

Before children, my husband Tim enjoyed playing various videogames in his downtime.  He still enjoys videogames, but now with three children, this whole “down time” doesn’t really exist in our family.  One way that he has bonded with Owen is that he has taught him how to play videogames, not just on one console, but on 3… the Xbox One, the Nintendo 64, and the Game Cube.  Thankfully, since Owen knows his letters, he is able to follow simple directions such as “Press Y to do this” or “Press B to jump.”  (You’re welcome for that by the way Tim).  Slowly but surely Owen was able to make his characters in the games actually do stuff and go places.

Lately Owen has been able to do a lot on the games.  So much in fact, that I don’t know how he knows how to do certain things on his own.  He will often ask me for help with a level that he is doing, and quite frankly I have no clue how to help him.  He has really impressed me with his critical thinking skills when figuring out different puzzles and activities in these games.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think videogames have been an ok thing in our house.  It is definitely something that has to be utilized in moderation, because let’s be honest here, he would be on it all day everyday if I let him. I am totally guilty of using it as a crutch this summer after welcoming baby number three.  We were stuck in the house for about two months to keep germs at bay as much as possible.  Since then, we have created a schedule for days and times that he is allowed to play.  So far, this has worked nicely.  In my opinion, videogames has been slightly better than just allowing him to watch Tom and Jerry all day on the television.  He at least has to use some problem solving skills and is practicing his fine motor skills using the controller.

All in all, there could be much worse things than letting my kid play videogames.

Owen and kind of Harper playing Lego Marvel Avengers
Owen and kind of Harper playing Lego Marvel Avengers

The Broken Toe Catastrophe

Harper at the broken bone doctor
Harper at the broken bone doctor

I always imagined that I would be a super great helicopter mom, monitoring my small children’s every moves.  My children would understand what it meant to be careful.  The last thing my children would ever have on my watch is a broken bone or any kind of severe injury.  Well, here I am with my 18 month old daughter who now has a humongous cast on her foot because she broke her toe.

I was a very cautious child, and I’m still a pretty cautious adult.  Never in my life have I broken a bone or required any kind of serious medical attention for any other kind of injury.  I would have hoped that gene would have been passed down to my children, but that’s not the case when it comes to my middle child Harper.  My oldest child Owen who is 3 years old has always been extremely careful.  Still to this day, he is too terrified to go up inside the playscape at McDonalds or go up any kind of tall slide.  I guess you can say I had it pretty easy when it came to making sure he was physically safe.

Harper has definitely proven to be my wild child.  From the day she started walking (which pretty much went immediately to running), I knew that she would be the one who would one day end up in the emergency room or urgent care for some self-inflicted injury.  It only took a few months after she was really mobile, but here we are!

I recently had my 3rd baby a little less than two months ago.  As we started bringing out all his baby contraptions and swings and such, Harper quickly learned how to climb up in them all by herself.  If the tray is off the high chair, she’s climbing up in it.  If something is on the dining table that she can’t reach, she’s on the dining table.  Well just a few days ago as Harper was sitting at the table eating her snack (which she has been able to do for quite some time now), the chair somehow flips backwards with her in it.  As soon as I heard the crash, I went rushing in to pick her up and check for any injuries.  She was screaming and her pinky toe was purple and covered in blood.  It seemed pretty obvious that it was most likely broken.

After rushing her to the urgent care clinic, they did x-rays, washed the blood off, and did some other torturous things to my child for a span of 2 hours.  After the radiologist viewed the x-rays, they determined that the toe was broken.  We were then referred to a pediatric orthopedic doctor.  There, they put a huge cast on her foot and a special shoe to help her walk in.  One would think this would slow a child down a bit, but not little Harper.  It took her about a day to get pretty steady on it and now she is running around the house and climbing on things, just as crazy and dangerously as ever.  She has even mastered using her giant foot cast as a stomping mechanism if there are crumbs of any sort on the kitchen floor.  We are all pretty much terrified of her stepping on one of our toes or fingers with the giant monster of a foot.  Also, having a 6 week old around Harper is pretty scary as well and I am constantly having to keep him out of her path.  Tummy time has pretty much become non-existent for poor Charlie for the time being because I’m terrified Harper might trip and fall on him or knock him in the head with her foot.

Bath time has been really fun lately as well.  She has to wear the cast on her foot for about four weeks and the stupid thing can’t get wet.  Every time we bathe her (which is quickly decreasing in frequency due to the task being such an event) we have to wrap her cast in a plastic bag, put her in a baby bath tub, hold that leg out of the water and have one parent bathe her while the other wrestles her leg to keep it elevated out of the water.  Apologies to anyone who may smell my kid in the next 4 weeks.  Bath time is horrible.

All in all Harper has learned nothing from this experience and has if anything become even more dangerous than ever.  I look forward to 4 weeks from now, but until then I at least get to enjoy what is the cuteness of an 18 month old Harper in a big purple cast running around the house just as happy as ever.