Educating Too Early

early academics damage, avoid academic preschool, preschool should be play, adult-directed toddler activities, kids resisting instruction, headstrong toddlers, willful preschooler,

Image CC by 2.0 emilygoodstein

My daughter started preschool a month before she turned three. She was too young. The facility was wonderful, the teachers kind, the activities entirely age-appropriate but she resisted the structure. It didn’t make sense to her that she was asked to learn color words she already knew. Or that she had to perform with her classmates at the annual holiday show after she’d already practiced the song and movement pieces well beyond her boredom tolerance. She did what she was told but she wasn’t happy. When I talked this over with the teachers they emphasized how important it was to follow rules, even if she didn’t see the logic herself, because it prepared her to conform to many more rules in “real” school. That didn’t make sense to me either and we finally pulled her out of preschool. I know why I was eager for her to start. Pregnant with her brother, I felt nauseated all the time and hoped preschool would feed her active mind. And she had been chronically ill nearly all of her first three years. Now she was finally better. I suspect, unconsciously, I signed her up to assure myself she was as healthy as any other little girl.

Once she was a preschool dropout we went back to our ordinary, richly educational lives of chores and play. We played outside, hiked in the woods, made up songs, went to the library, visited friends and family, took trips to museums, snuggled, and read. She filled her free time with make-believe play as well as hours of drawing while listening to story tapes. If I had to do it over again, I’d have skipped preschool. I’m not against the concept, just troubled by how much emphasis is placed on adult-led educational structure.

Take a look at promotional material for preschools in your area. Chances are they tout early math, pre-reading, and other academics. This approach sells.  Most people I know sign their children up at the age of two or three to attend specialized enrichment programs that claim to boost abilities in science, art, sports, music, or language. In addition, nearly everyone I know is sure their children benefit from playing with toys and electronics that “teach.”

These well-intentioned parents operate on a mindset that’s hard to dismiss in today’s society. They are convinced that learning flows from instruction. Logically then, early instruction will help maximize their child’s potential. But learning in young children (and perhaps at all ages) has much more to do with curiosity, exploration, and body-based activities.

Recent studies with four-year-olds showed that, “Direct instruction really can limit young children’s learning.” Direct instruction also limits a child’s creativity, problem solving, and openness to ideas beyond the situation at hand. This is true when the instruction comes from parents as well as teachers.

As Wendy S. Grolnick explains in The Psychology of Parental Control: How Well-meant Parenting Backfires, research shows that rewards, praise, and evaluative comments actually undermine motivation and stifle learning in preschoolers as well as school-aged children. This is true when those actions come from parents or teachers.

Highly instructional preschool programs have been studied for years. Although they’re more popular than ever, the outcomes don’t hold up under scrutiny. 

Researcher Rebecca Marcon evaluated children in preschool and kindergarten programs falling within three categories: play based, academically oriented, and those that combined both approaches. Her study checked up on the students as they progressed through primary school. Students who had been in early academically oriented programs gradually declined, falling  behind their peers. Children who’d been in a combined approach program also showed achievement gaps. Who benefited the most? Children who’d been in play-based programs. Their academic success was greater than those in the other two types of programs and continued to gain. Marcon concluded,

Children’s later school success appears to be enhanced by more active, child-initiated learning experiences. Their long-term progress may be slowed by overly academic preschool experiences that introduce formalized learning experiences too early for most children’s developmental status. Pushing children too soon may actually backfire when children move into the later elementary school grades and are required to think more independently and take on greater responsibility for their own learning process.

Another study confirmed that future success has to do with the kinds of abilities gained  through child-initiated, exploratory play. Compared to children in non-play-based preschool programs, the play-based group of children exhibited greater self-control,working memory, flexible thinking, and relational ability. These traits have more to do with academic success than testable abilities in math and reading, even more than IQ.

And when researchers followed high-risk children who attended different preschool environments they found even more resounding results.  Some children were enrolled in an academic setting, others in a child-initiated play setting, and a third group in a preschool that balanced both approaches. By the middle grades, children from the play-oriented preschool were receiving the highest grades. They also showed the most social and emotional maturity.  Those who had attended the academic preschool lagged behind in a significant way— poorer social skills. The differences became more apparent as these children got older. By age fifteen, students from the academic preschool program showed twice as much delinquent activity as the other two groups. And in adulthood, former students of the play preschool and balanced preschool showed higher levels of success across a whole spectrum of variables. The academic group did not attain the same level of education as the play group and required more years of treatment for emotional impairment. They also faced more felony arrests than the other two groups.

We know that free play, now so limited in the lives of most children, is actually essential for learning and character development. We also know that children learn more effectively when they’re the ones in charge of self-regulating, what is now called the “Goldilocks effect.”

My daughter mostly remembers the toy dinosaurs from preschool. I hope that pushing academics on toddlers itself becomes extinct.

preschooler resistant, non-academic preschool, damage of early instruction, self-directed early learning,

Image CC by 2.0 by Kevan

Additional resources

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful?” by Lyn Nell Hancock  Smithsonian Magazine September 2011

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by  Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughan

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less by Roberta Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Diane Eyer

The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally by David Elkind

About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is a writer and editor, perhaps due to an English professor's scathing denunciation of her writing as "curious verbiage." She's the author of "Free Range Learning," a handbook of natural learning and "Tending," a poetry collection. (lauragraceweldon.com) She's working on her next book, "Subversive Cooking" (subversivecooking.com). She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she is a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, talk to chickens and cows, discuss life’s deeper meaning with her surprisingly tolerant offspring, sing to bees, hide in books, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films, and make messy art.
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50 Responses to Educating Too Early

  1. This is wonderfully informative, and something some parents don’t seem to understand. I worked at and my son attended The Goddard School for his preschool, and they are very much a learning-through-play, child-initiated learning type of preschool. As a teacher there, we were required to write lesson plans, but all of the activities were based around play and very few were “structured.” We left most of the learning open-ended. Art was always creative and process driven rather than product driven (ie, it was never “Lets make clouds using cottoj balls and glue on paper” but rather “Here are some cotton balls, glue, and paper. What can you make today?” In fact, now that my son is in Kindergarten, he often still tells me that he liked his preschool better, because he just got to play. There was a bigger picture involved of learning, but the kids never knew it! He could read at about a first grade level and do simple math problems… Without even realizing that’s what he was doing… Before he stepped foot into kindergarten. I agree whole-heatedly with this type of learning. How do we get the schools to see it that way????

    • I think it’s parent and market-driven. The atmosphere now, in our test-happy society, takes us farther and farther from the deeper and wider ways children really learn. Kudos to The Goddard School!

  2. Barbara @therextras says:

    This is especially good informati. Thank you.

    For parents of children diagnosed as developmental delayed, federally mandated preschool breaches the data you show here by attempting to teach abstract concepts such as alphabet & numbers to children who are even less ready than typically developing childr.

    • I dearly hope the programs geared to children with any developmental delays are done with careful attention to their unique needs, employing occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, and others who know how to pair fun with incremental progress.

  3. Lisa says:

    Laura, Great article, thank you. How do you believe Montessori fits into this as its a child-led approach?

    • I’ve read some of Maria Montessori’s writings and credit her with watershed advances in the way childhood learning has been viewed. I mentioned her in my book as one of the progressive minds making things better for children. I know people who adore Montessori. I personally don’t have any experience with it.

  4. Laura says:

    I agree 100%, let me give the perspective of teacher /director. You are correct when you say it is parent market driven. The economy has nearly broken the private preschool and day care market. Schools will sell their souls to get children in the door. I run a small parent cooperative preschool, and there are times I wish I could let go of my play based beliefs. We run year to year with no security. If I was selling a math and reading program for 4 year olds, my doors would be busting open with students. I struggle to convince new parents that their children will do better than their academic preschool peers, but the pressure on parents is unbelievable. It is if they are raising a product rather than a child. The false sense of competition is so prevalent, they blindly follow their friends opinions rather than one of an educator with 30 years of experience.
    The new common core standards are also in this mix. There is money to be made, and those who are in it to do that will further taint parents perspectives.
    We need more research, and creative ways to get this information to parents. Thanks for reading, keep up the good work!

    • I wish parents could slow down enough to pay close attention to their children. Kids tell us through their boredom, their stubbornness, their refusals, their acting out that all this pressure isn’t what they need. Paying attention with the eyes of empathy shows us that kids come alive through make-believe, through free play, through stories read aloud, cuddles, ordinary daily rituals, time spent with friends and loved ones. I know you see this in your students. But their parents were raised in outcome-based educational models, and, out of love and concern, push their kids hoping to ensure their success. Ironically, better grades and test scores aren’t associated with success http://lauragraceweldon.com/2012/01/30/better-test-scores-dont-lead-to-success/ It has a lot more to do with the development of character traits like impulse control, creativity, and so on. But you know that. I wish you could develop a “math and reading” program for 4 year old that was really a workshop for parents, showing them the research on this while their kids played, happily, in the mud right outside the window….

    • Darla says:

      AMEN LAURA!

      I’m a Childcare Provider of 30 years myself. I’ve worked in Church Daycare, Corp. Daycare and have run and am still running my In Home Childcare.
      I believe in balance for every situation. There’s nothing wrong with introducing children to letters and numbers concepts through play. They never realize they are learning.
      Pre-math is through blocks and puzzles.
      Sequencing from left to right in patterns of shapes or colors is a pre-reading skill.
      I do sell that in my childcare.
      I work on their ability to strengthen their hands and fingers for holding a pencil later in life and being able to use scissors later as well. How? By tearing paper to make into a collage. Free art.
      What worries me is I’ve a 4 year old who reads better than some second graders.

  5. famela says:

    Reblogged this on Famela's World.

  6. Heather says:

    From my experience the OT, Speech and PT doesn’t have any say in the curriculum that the teacher teaches day to day. The IEP (Individualized education program for the special needs student) does have goals set with input from those specialists and the parent. Some modifications are made I’m sure but the class learns all the same stuff and it’s pretty structured. At my son’s school he’s tracing letters and writing, learning numbers etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, he knows them from me at home, but he is having a hard time sitting still in a group and waiting his turn etc and not acting out. I’m torn between feeling he needs to learn those skills for public kindergarten and wishing he was in a more Montessori like setting.

    • You know and I know that you son isn’t learning much by tracing letters he already knows, except learning how to be bored. The “sit still and pay attention” concept is seriously outdated. It’s actually contrary to how our brains learn! Young kids and particularly kids with ADHD symptoms MUST fidget in order to learn http://phys.org/news162554898.html Sitting too long works against learning. So does fear of reprisal, even of evaluation. (Check out Dr. Grolnick’s book, mentioned in the post) Here are some learning strategies that should be basic to any classroom: http://www.woodbinehouse.com/excerpt/teaching_teens_excerpt2.pdf

      Some school districts continue to provide state-mandated services such as OT, speech, and PT if the parents homeschool. Just tossing that out there.

  7. Reblogged this on homeschoolingmiddleeast and commented:
    I always love, and agree with, what Laura has to say and am always so pleased to share it! It is a great reminder to me to be so careful with my 4 year old. I need to remember that learning doesn’t always (possibly rarely) come from instruction and when I sometimes feel uninvolved in her learning and feel pressure to get involved, I should listen to my gut and go read a book or something because she’s learning more pottering around on her own than I can probably offer. I am just about always available to read a book and (less often) if she wants to play a ‘Jolly Phonics’ or ‘Biff and Chip’ game on the computer but the rest of the time, I can safely leave her to her own devices safe in the knowledge she’s learning what she needs to.

  8. Wendy says:

    This explains a lot. My children have never set foot in a preschool and only briefly in “real” school. I was a stay at home mom from day one. We value learning, I myself love to read and watch documentaries and learning programs, we’ve always gone to museums- even before they could walk them on their own, and hiking- they started in hiking packs. I was warned how my children would be “behind” because they weren’t in a structured program. My daughter entered kindergarten and excelled. She had no trouble “catching” her peers, in fact, thanks to our love of the library she was already ahead in many areas. She also had no trouble picking up smarting off and back talking and being mean to her little brother she had previously loved to play with.

    We were suddenly too busy to take in as many museums, as many hikes, and even trips to the library became less frequent. Two years behind my daughter, my son entered “real” school- it was not a good fit. He does not have his sister’s adaptability and as I strongly suspect he is on the spectrum, the classroom was stifling to him; he was bored and wanted to follow his own interest. Less than half way through the year, I pulled him and with the support of my husband and several home schooling moms in my church set out to teach my son at home.

    It was a God send! Here he could pursue the creativity that public school had stifled, he could learn with his hands and not just his ears. The behavioral issues that had started with school disappeared. By Christmas break my daughter had asked to come home and after prayer and consideration, we agreed. We have now been on this journey for nine years and while it hasn’t been without its bumps I rarely question the decision. I say rarely because there are still all those voices (well meaning friends and family) telling you that you are messing up your kids.

    Really? My children are both amazingly creative! I have two musicians, they have a whole cast of characters (of various cultural backgrounds and distinct quirks) for an animated series they want to create, my daughter sews, even making stuffed animals of the characters from their series, and both are more than capable of critical thinking. People are always amazed and often amused by my children’s world view, of their awareness of the world around them and their place in it, and by the breadth of subjects they can discuss. Did I do something special? Not really. From day one of home schooling we had structured learning- limited structured learning. I always placed a high value on time for them to pursue their interests. Now one is in middle school (freshman next year) and one is a sophomore. School days are a little longer due to the work being more complex but I still value their free time. For all I have taught my children, I am most proud of what I didn’t teach them, of the things they learned for themselves.

    All of this to come to my point. My children have been allowed a childhood. They have been allowed to develop their own interests and hobbies without being steered by their peers. They are allowed even now free time for creativity and to follow their interests. They are beyond their peers in so many ways and behind them in the ways that count. They rarely back talk, they respect individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and have a world view it took me years to develop after leaving school. I can’t see that home schooling has harmed them at all. I can’t see that not going to a structured pre-school set them back. When I see my nieces and nephews buried in video games and then my two engaged in creating some new idea or hobby, my decision is reaffirmed. Children should be allowed to be children. Learning should happen, by and large, naturally. I am very glad I didn’t give into the pressure to put them back in “real” school. This, life, is where real learning happens.

    • Your family’s experience is very similar to ours Wendy. Your description says it all. I hope everyone reads your comment!

      • This is wonderful for those who can be Stay at Home Moms. But for those of us who can’t, due to monetary reasons or otherwise, what kind of schooling do you suggest is best for our children? Montessori, Waldorf, Goddard or something else?

        • Oh Lisa, there’s no one right answer. It has a great deal to do with what’s right for the child and family. Finding that fit may not be easy. One important criterion is a responsive staff, willing to work with the child and parents to make their approach fit. Before I pulled my kids out of school I tried over and over to wiggle some flex room on this to benefit my kids and others in their school. In that particularly system, even the most concerned teachers had no way to change a thing. If you are fortunate enough to live near Montessori, Waldorf, and Goddard schools try to observe at all three. Read about their philosophy. See if you also have the good fortune to be close to a Democratic School http://www.educationrevolution.org/blog/list-of-democratic-schools/, and again, read their philosophy and see if you can observe. Pay close attention to you intuition, this isn’t a wholly head-based decision. There are all sorts of amazing options out there. You’re on the forefront of educational change by seeking out the very best situation for your child and working within those systems to maximize the greater good.

          Oh, and if your child is as young as the children in this post, check to see that they have the opportunity for wide-ranging types of free play http://www.allianceforchildhood.org/sites/allianceforchildhood.org/files/file/12_types_of_play.pdf

  9. Angela says:

    Laura have you heard of the Playcentre Philosophy from New Zealand? This is the ECE my children have had and I cant rave enough about it. http://www.playcentre.org.nz/

      • Angela says:

        come see it in action some time it is a concept that can work anywhere in the world wiht the right group of parents we are challanged now though withthe push towards 2 working parents but we still have strong centres and commitment to parents as the first an dbest teachers of their children

        • Ursula Deacon says:

          I WISH we had Playcentre in Australia, there has been nothing for us, we can’t afford Montessori or Steiner. Playgroups don’t cut it. I haven’t done pre-school (even the name makes my stomach turn) for all the above reasons. We do outings everyday, paint and draw on the deck outside, unlimited play, bush walks to look for animals, drawing picnics, play at our ‘special beach’. Now my daughter is about to turn five and we’ve enrolled her into an average local school. My son who just turned three we’ve enrolled into pre-school two days per week. Everything in me says no don’t do it, both her to school and him to “pre-school”. But my kids are desperate for friends and my son will miss his sister terribly when she begins school. Any thoughts here?

          • There’s a very vibrant homeschooling community in Australia, if that’s the direction you are leaning. Plenty of group activities and play opportunities with other families whose children don’t attend school. To find local groups, contact:
            http://homeschoolaustralia.com/
            http://unschoolaustralia.com/

            Finding playmates is often an issue in school as well. There’s very little time for play in school itself and so many parents are busy that they have no room in their schedules for relaxed play dates between kids. Instead they sign their children up for all sorts of after school programs to keep them “busy.”

            Whatever you decide, it sounds like you have a wonderful home life with your children. Stay confident that, in school or not, your children are benefiting from a loving, expansive, and highly enriched family.

      • Carla Tunnicliffe says:

        I did Playcentre with my 3 children. It is hard work but it was worth it. It is completely free play! They don’t need structure in pre-school, they learn it as soon as they get to school. Let the kids be kids!

  10. sarah says:

    In New Zealand the government is trying to pass a law to force all children of beneficiaries to attend preschool. Even homeschooling families have to comply. It’s heartbreaking and makes me feel we are destroying the concept of childhood. Now people are only expected to have two years of freedom before they have to leave their families and start working on developing skills to fit into the adult world. What these high-minded early education experts don’t recognise (or don’t care about since all they want is to feed the education system) is that our civilisation is best served by people who have learned how to love, how to direct themselves, how to enjoy their own company in quiet, how to discover and create and imagine, how to be within the real world not some fake environment where sitting still is more important than anything their bodies and beautiful brains inspire them to do.

    • Sarah you have said it so beautifully. Let me highlight your words again, so anyone who reads comments can savor them fully:

      “Our civilisation is best served by people who have learned how to love, how to direct themselves, how to enjoy their own company in quiet, how to discover and create and imagine, how to be within the real world not some fake environment where sitting still is more important than anything their bodies and beautiful brains inspire them to do.”

      • Angela says:

        well said Sarah we are pleased to say that Playcentre will be a valid option for ECE for these families which is awesome. Being able to support these families and reinfirce how important they are in their chidrens lives is so valuable

  11. This is exactly why we chose Waldorf for our children’s education. The structure in the kindy (ages three to six) and even Class One is based on a rhythm of play and togetherness (eating, sharing stories, a few finger games, tidying). Steiner was years ahead of his time.

  12. Nancy says:

    Laura, thank you for this! I am always so shocked the friends to hear that parents send their kids to academic preschools. Maybe because I have always been a bookworm, I have no fears that my kids won’t read and write. Instead, I see how hard I worked in school and how much I lost of myself, and want my kids to have a different experience.

    Here’s a question. We had our 3 year old son in a Waldorf-based preschool a few days a week to allow me to work last year. It closed this year, and we were able to keep him home this year, along with his baby sister. Now, I’m realizing that most of the parents around us work, and that even the kids we met at preschool are too busy for playdates. We’ve gotten off the busy track, but no one else has! We are struggling a little bit with finding friends to play with. I have been trying to add some socialization by going to the local indoor play park, sometimes library time. He is in love with music, so we will try a (hopefully very loosely organized) music class that will start soon. I am hoping that we will connect with a family that is a good fit with ours. Any other suggestions for doing so? How do you meet other families when you choose to leave “busy” behind? We go for walks around the neighborhood every day, and while we have a wonderful time, it is so quiet and empty, as everyone goes about their busy lives. We are so very happy with the slow life. Tantrums are few, the kids love digging, playing, and just being. It feels so strange that the neighborhood isn’t on the same path, but there it is.

    • I know, preschoolers have gotten too busy for playdates. I see it too. Even on the most beautiful days, weekday or weekend, it’s rare to see kids outside where I live.

      I was fortunate to make my first friend with a same-aged child when we both were new mothers. It’s a downright desperate need isn’t it? She and I weren’t remotely similar in terms of politics, religion, or lifestyle. Didn’t matter. We loved spending time together and so did our babies. We’re still good friends, respectful of each other’s differing opinions and choices. I grabbed more “mom and kid” friends from Le Leche. Then we too signed up for a music program similar to Eurythmics, no luck finding friends for my kids there and the cost became too prohibitive. I also tried a group called Preschool PTA. The activities were too formal and the time required too excessive, but I did discover some families on neighboring streets. One success came when I started a toddler playgroup within a nearby nursing home. I started it with Le Leche friends but also advertised it with fliers hung at the market and library. Here’s a little about that http://lauragraceweldon.com/2011/10/26/bringing-kids-back-to-the-commons/ And the other thing I did, which was a slow and gradual process, was work to make our street into a real neighborhood. Eventually it worked. Lots of kid-centered activities like bike parades, Halloween parties, and the annual highlight, a summer Pig Pen party. Here’s more about that http://lauragraceweldon.com/2010/12/28/what-makes-a-street-into-a-neighborhood/

      Things I haven’t tried, but could be helpful. Connect with your local chapter of Holistic Moms. http://www.holisticmoms.org/
      Connect with Next Door https://nextdoor.com/, iNeighbor http://www.i-neighbors.org/, or Meetup http://www.meetup.com/

      • Nancy says:

        Thank you Laura! Yes, it is a desperate need. It is wonderful to hear how other moms have tackled it and to get a few new ideas.

  13. Nell says:

    Laura,

    Wow. Nail on the head! I have a 2 year, 4 month old and a 6 month old. Everyone asks me where and when I’m sending my older child, SuperBoy, to school. You know, because little boys shouldn’t be hanging around home with their mamas and little sisters. They should be engaged in structured activities with other children their age. Not! I couldn’t agree with you more that children should be free to play, interact, and be with their families when they’re little tikes (and older too). I wish that more of my friends realized that the rat race they’re putting their preschooler into will not yield a happier person, and that their family structure might be better off with more time spent between and among siblings. I treasure these young years and love exploring and playing with our son but most importantly, I love watching him explore and play and develop himself in a safe and loving context.

    Keep writing. I’m happily reading!

  14. Gabrielle Martell-Turner says:

    Wonderful stuff ! My children all attended Playcentre in New Zealand where the play is child initiated and adult supported. It has been a gorgeous journey being with my children, learning and developing alongside them. My youngest son has been very interested in letters, words and symbols and has recently cracked the reading ‘code’ by himself with support from our family. He is on such a wonderful voyage of discovery and it is at his own pace, in his own time, with his own recources. I can fully understand how parents become anxious these days. The child-care industry, like all businesses, has to promote itself but it has been at the cost of undermining normal parental instincts. We are so often led to believe that only ‘professionals’ can teach our children when patience and support and attention can be all that children need.

  15. Le Soleil Suédois says:

    I loved this! Very will written!

  16. traceybecker says:

    Preschool is more for the parents, in my opinion. It can be lots of fun, if it’s play-based. Some kids enjoy the routine of a structured preschool, and my sons did fine,but they were never EVER as excited to attend as they were to just play and learn on their own.

  17. Abby Quillen says:

    Thanks Laura! I’ve been thinking about this lately as my 4-year-old just started a non-academic Waldorf preschool for a few hours a week. We decided to enroll him for just a couple hours in the late afternoons, so that he could have his normal home rhythms and play dates. At the moment, it seems like a great compromise. I’m looking forward to reading the research and resources you mentioned!

  18. Darin Perrott says:

    I found your article interesting but also very biased in your delivery. Especially the selective research that’s quoted. Parents are protective and concerned out their child’s well being so it’s important that people offering advice should do so in balanced way. Preschool, just like any other learning establishment, home based included, is totally dependent on who’s delivering it. I’m sure we can all remember teachers who inspired and teachers who made us hate a subject. In New Zealand the early childhood curriculum is based on Te Whariki which is all about learning through play and experiences. It’s divided into 5 strands of well being, belonging, contribution, communication and exploration. The teachers focus on a child’s interest and then plan around expanding on that interest. It may be something as simple as water play and learning what happens when you pour water through a funnel and tube or as complex as building with carpentry using real saws, hammers and hand drills. Also there are mixed centres that embrace tuakana teina, which is through the older sibling that the younger sibling learns. So please don’t condemn all Centres because of your one bad experience.
    Regards,
    Darin

  19. Pursiomniapura says:

    Homeschooling pioneer Dr. Raymond Moore & his wife (both teachers I might add who homeschooled all their children) said this 25+ yrs ago in their book “Better Late Than Early” http://www.amazon.com/Better-Late-Than-Early-Education/dp/0883490498
    This whole push for getting kids in school as soon as possible is driven by homes with two working parents who need babysitters as quick as possible. Here in Michigan the state gov. tried to pass legislation to get the kids in school at 3 & although it didn’t pass, the conversations revealed the obvious. More working parents produces more tax dollars for the govt. Kids in school earlier breaks down the family unit sooner. The govt. has a huge part to play in all this because many families don’t make enough with one wage earner to cover cost of living & all the taxes to keep the govt. going. Sorrowfullly, the children always pay the price, not the parents, not the schools, not the govt.

  20. Andrea says:

    Wow… that’s deep. I think that’s why it bothers me when other homeschoolers start asking about curriculum for 2 and 3 year old children. My answer is… Leave Them Alone!

  21. tina says:

    Wouldn’t be great if all new parents were handed this information?

    Thank you for addressing different types of preschools. My daughters attended a NAEYC accredited preschool that enriched them and our family. The director is a top expert in play.

    Now if we could only bring this sanity to elementary schools. The need for free time and play doesn’t end at first grade. Unfortunately 6-7 hour school days+homework do not leave much free time.I’m not sure how to change this. Hopefully I’m not the only parent who doesn’t like the current system.

  22. Momof3 says:

    Totally agree! I live in an overly-educated neighborhood and people were shocked that we, a Stanford-educated physician and self-employed spouse, chose to skip preschool. We also did not do flash cards at home, enroll in Kumon (parent-directed drill-based learning from Japan, very popular here), or over-schedule our kids. There were in fact months when the kids had NO scheduled lessons! But I felt that being a kid and catching bugs and playing LEGOs and just hanging at home was the right thing. And, honestly, in kindergarten, my kids DID seem behind compared to the other kids. For a while I worried that I had done the wrong thing. But guess what? All three kids did just fine and by 1st or 2nd grade surpassed the other kids. I would never go back to do preschool — kids only have one chance to be kids!

  23. I like your article and agree with your ideas, however the last section that talks about a research study, sounds a bit too simplistic. Can you reference the research please?

    • Thank you for your comment Ms WonderOutLoud. I went back to that last section and noticed the link was broken. Trying to find the study I’d referenced led to find several other studied, which I’ve added.

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