When teaching preschool, preschool teachers should beware of those silly-little-lesson killers. Cartoons are almost always counter productive. Instead of enhancing the learning process, they often serve as insurmountable barriers. Listed below are three reasons to consider excluding cartoons from your little one’s preschool learning material.
1. Cartoons are very distracting! When you teach your children something new you want them to focus on the new material. This is hard for your little ones to do when their books are flooded with silly–distracting graphics! Look at Example A below. If you were teaching your children the number 3 for the first time using this graphic, they might never actually see the number 3 hidden behind the green snake or, even worse, they might assume that the snake is named “Three.” Using resources like this causes unnecessary confusion. Example B is a slight improvement. At least the number 3 is visible. However, the mischievous T-Rex is much more exciting. He definitely steals the show! So, you will certainly be forced into a never-ending cycle of recapturing your children’s attention and redirecting it back to the number 3. While this is doable, it creates extra work and drastically extends the learning process. The final example excludes everything but the subject at hand – in this case the number 3. There are no distractions. Using this last image, your children should be able to understand and recognize the symbol for the number 3 instantly!
2. There is nothing silly about learning! Another problem that parents who use “cartoon laden” curriculum encounter, is that many children associate cartoons with silliness and fantasy. So, when they see a text-book that has silly-fantasy characters everywhere, they may struggle is take the material seriously. They might even falsely assume that their lesson is nothing more than a silly game or fairy-tale. It is especially hard for little ones to distinguish between the facts you are trying to teach them and the fair-tales you read to them before bed, when the facts look no different from than imaginary stories. Look at the examples below. How can a child not help but believe that the first image represents a silly-fairytale? Of course, the second image has just the opposite effect. The Pilgrims in the second image look real and profound – as they should. The Pilgrims were not silly cartoon people hanging out with a silly cartoon turkey. They were real people who sacrificed deeply and helped forge a great nation. The second picture definitely supports the more accurate historical viewpoint.
3. Learning is already fun! When you consider all the time, energy and money expended trying to make learning fun by adding a host of unnecessary and distracting cartoons and activities, you would think that learning was extremely boring. Yet, just the opposite is true. Learning is exciting all by itself, without any artificial embellishments. Young children don’t need their curriculum dumbed-down and “silly-fied.” They need a serious curriculum that’s focus is on content – not characters. They are fully capable of learning just like adults and have a far greater capacity to enjoy learning – even without cartoons!
Now, there is no need to throw out all your videos and fairy-tale stories. They make great entertainment for your little children. However, when you purchase a preschool curriculum you will definitely want one that focuses on content – not cartoon characters! If you are currently looking for a great preschool curriculum or more preschool inspirations, be sure to check out our Preschool Learning Page.
LOVE this (as always). I often look at my shelf next to my desk and see all my ‘little’ text books. We are using many very old texts (McGuffey’s Readers, Primary Language Lessons, Ray’s Arithmetic, etc.) and I love that they are very focused on the material, not distracting entertainment to try to capture the kids attention. When there are pictures, they are real drawings of life-like things. What gets me about pictures like your thanksgiving example is that a child would have no idea what a turkey actually looks like if they always saw that type of example. Thanks for your encouragement again today. I like being reminded that I’m not alone =)