If you're over 25 and went to preschool, you probably spent that time in the blocks corner or with the dress-up box. You learned to follow directions, share stuff, and wait your turn. There was probably a snack and a nap, and then you went home. If you walked into a 21st-century preschool, you might not recognize it. Preschool has changed, and if you don't have little kids, you might be totally unaware. Free play makes up less of each day every year, and kids spend lots of time working on numbers and letters — stuff previous generations saved for kindergarten.This new "academic" preschool misses the point, and study after study shows that. Kids who go to "high-quality" preschools do better in life than those who don't, but we need to understand what "high quality" means. It's not ABCs and 123s. The opposite, actually. Here's a teacher who's got it down. Take a minute to learn from her. Oh, and check out "sharing time" halfway through. That was always my favorite part of preschool, and it's just as awesome now as it ever was.