In her recent report, “Lively Minds: Distinctions between academic versus intellectual goals for young children", former president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Lilian G. Katz, PhD, posits that “an appropriate [preschool] curriculum…includes the encouragement and motivation of the children to seek mastery of basic academic skills, e.g. beginning writing skills, in the service of their intellectual pursuits.” Katz calls to center stage the distinction between academic and intellectual goals and the resulting effect on student achievement.
According to Katz:
Academic goals are “concerned with the mastery of small discrete elements of disembodied information, usually related to pre-literacy skills in the early years, and practices in drills, worksheets, and other kinds of exercises designed to prepare children for the next levels of literacy and numeracy learning.”
Intellectual goals “emphasize reasoning, hypothesizing, posing questions, predicting answers to questions, predicting the findings produced by investigation, the development and analysis of ideas, and the quest for understanding.”
After summarizing both types of goals and her views on each, Katz concludes that “longitudinal follow-up studies indicate that while formal [academic] instruction produces good test results in the short term, preschool curriculum and teaching methods emphasizing children’s interactive roles and initiative, while not so impressive in the short term, yield better school achievement in the long term.”
10BH’s Learner Centric Approach, designed by Founder and CEO Paul Thiebaut III, aims to ready disadvantaged preschoolers for kindergarten by helping them master academic, intellectual, social, and emotional skills. The approach blends together a compassionate adult volunteer tutor, home tutoring, parent involvement, and educational resources in a place where children are most comfortable, their home, and with a person who they relate to most, their parents.
10BH’s approach delivers both academic and intellectual skill development opportunities through two years of weekly learner-centric one-on-one tutoring lessons led by volunteer tutors (called Role Models). They encourage children to discover “moments of motivation” using 10BH’s Give-Return-Adapt strategy, a lesson planning method that targets children’s learning motivation and ensures the learning process is driven by the child.
In just four years, 10BH’s Learner Centric Approach has produced promising results at all stages of its 2-year program (which serves children from age 3 until they begin kindergarten):
How children learn about the program: Local doctors, teachers, school administrators, community organizations, and parents actively refer families.
Children newly enrolled in the program: “My son has only had two sessions, but I can already see a lot of progress. For example, this is the first experience he has had with cutting and using scissors. After his second lesson, all he wanted to do was cut.”
Children midway through the program: "Instead of grabbing her tablet when I get home she picks up a book and doesn't ask me, but tells me to read it to her. I find it amazing how much she can do in less than a year with 10BH.”
Children graduating from the program: “I am so excited my daughter got accepted to a top school for kindergarten. She was tested to see if she needed summer school to enter, but it turns out she knew everything that was asked and there is no need for summer school.”
Children after they have graduated from the program: Children are on grade level when they arrive in kindergarten and have stayed on grade level through 1st grade.
These results are occurring in a high-poverty community where for 20 years nearly 100% of students have come from low-income homes and 60% have dropped out of school annually.
At 10BH, we believe kindergarten-readiness and later achievement is directly connected to a thriving educational environment in the home, which we strive to encourage through our program.
Most strikingly, after enrolling in 10BH, children and parents begin to spend hundreds of hours learning together. This reallocation of the family’s time from activities, such as watching TV and playing with toys, to educational ones represents the emergence of a culture of education in the home.
To reflect the emergence of an educationally active home environment, 10BH tracks some of the new ways families spend their time. The total number of hours represents the minimum of what each family achieves upon completing the two year program.
10BH hopes to instill in all Learners an internal drive for lifelong intellectual growth. As Katz stated in her report, intellectual motivation helps drive toward academic milestones. If Learners leave the 10BH program excited about learning, confident in their abilities, curious about the world around them, and with supportive parents, academic success is sure to follow.