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Home: The Best Educational Starting Point


Q. I realize that the best thing for my child is to grow up in our home, with a warm, nurturing relationship with both his mother and his father. But I need to work, and therefore I need to put him in day care. How can I manage this most effectively, to do him the least harm and the most good?


David Elkind, Ph.D., professor of child development at Tufts University, writes, "When we instruct children in

academic subjects... at too early an age, we miseducate them; we put them at risk for short-term stress and long-term

personality damage.... There is no evidence that such early instruction has lasting benefits, and considerable evidence

that it can do lasting harm."2

2. Arthur Jensen, Ph.D., a learning psychologist, wrote in 1969 that Benjamin Bloom's3 conclusions that people develop

50% of their mature intelligence by the age of 4, is a statistically unwarranted conclusion.4

3. The University of California child psychologist, Nancy Bayley, Ph.D., whose data Bloom used, later pointed out that

Bloom's theory was inherently wrong because it was based on an inadequate definition of intelligence.5

4. In 2003, Sarah Friedman6 made a presentation to the National Institute of Health Child Care Board about findings

from the government study in which she is a principal investigator. She reported "...the more time children had spent

in nonmaternal child care across the first 4.5 years of life, the more adults reported conflict with the child and such

problem behaviors as aggression, disobedience, and assertiveness." 7

5. A 2005 Stanford University/University of California research study reported, "We find that attendance in preschool

centers, even for short periods of time each week, hinders the rate at which young children develop social skills and

display the motivation to engage classroom tasks, as reported by their kindergarten teachers." This lack of development

of social skills involved three specific areas: "children's externalizing behaviors (such as, aggression, bullying,

acting up), interpersonal skills (such as, sharing and cooperation), and self control in engaging classroom tasks." 8

6. A 2007 report from an ongoing research study by The NICHD Early Child Care Research Network "...breaks new

ground by tracking American children to ages 11-12...." This report concludes in part, "...children with more experience

in [child care] center settings continued to manifest somewhat more problem behaviors through sixth grade." 9

7. Dr. David A. Scott, a clinical psychologist who participated in an international psychiatric conference in Eastern

Europe in 1989, reported what had been learned in Czechoslovakia after a period of some 20 years of placing

almost 90% of all children in state run institutions following the end of WWII: "Institutionalized children... suffered

developmental retardation and deprivation. In comparison with children raised in families, the institutionalized

children suffered heightened emotional disorders, fear, tension, behavioral disorders, and even such physical

symptoms as weight loss and more frequent respiratory infections." "The Czechs learned from bitter experience that

the wholesale institutionalization of children after the war took a terrible toll on Eastern European children." 10

8. According to a report by the Southwest Policy Institute: "Contrary to common belief, early institutional schooling can

harm children emotionally, intellectually and socially, and may later lead to greater peer dependency." "Moreover,

Child and Family Protection Association

Roy Hanson, Jr.

1000 Sunrise Ave., Ste 9B #418; Roseville, CA 95661-5472

(916) 415-9480 FAX (916) 415-9470

Institutionalized Early Childhood

Education and Development

Background and Issues

Updated May 2007

"Education is not a race."

(Dr. David Elkind)1

Page 1 of 4

research indicates that most academic gains shown by normal children schooled early do not last past the second

grade." "The need for early schooling for disadvantaged and at-risk children does not justify mandating kindergarten

for all children." 11

9. The 2004 Perry Preschool Study by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph.D., noted that reported results of narrowly focused

and highly controlled experimental preschool programs, such as Perry Preschool are "seldom if ever achieved in state

preschool programs" such as open-enrollment universal preschool. 12

10. The Hewitt Foundation reported, "The Stanford ECE [Early Childhood Education] public policy research team,

which worked in this field for a number of years, could not find a single state that had early school mandates based on

replicable research." 13

11. Dr. Elkind14 points out additional significant problems stemming from early education. "Hurried children... constitute

many of the young people experiencing school failure, those involved in delinquency and drugs, and those who are

committing suicide." 15

12. Dr. Elkind writes that the capacity to manipulate symbols mentally, which is developed around the age of 5 or 6, is

what makes it possible for older children to attain a level of achievement (in math and reading for instance) that was

not possible for preschool children.16

"Children at this stage ... have the capacity to learn and operate according to rules, the basis for all lasting social

change." "The ability to learn rules makes formal education possible, because most of what children learn as they

acquire the basic skills of reading and arithmetic are rules." "Mastering the basics means acquiring an enormous

number of rules and learning to apply them appropriately. Hurrying children academically, therefore, ignores

the enormity of the task that children face in acquiring basic math and reading skills. We need to have a better

appreciation of how awesome an intellectual task learning the basics really is for children and give them the time they

need to accomplish it well." 17

13. Multiple studies over a period of 100 years, beginning in the late 1800's, demonstrate that close eye work can

result in astigmatism and myopia, especially close eye work by young children. For example, E.W. Adams,

OD, summarized a report to the Optometric Research Institute: "... that in the first and second grades very little

astigmatism is found, but after these two beginning grades each successive grade up to about the sixth increases the

percentage of astigmatism; after the sixth the percentage remains about the same."18

14. Educator Dr. John Dewey, Ph.D., was aware that children's eyes develop first to look at larger objects and at a

distance. In 1898 he reported that when children have to focus on close work or small objects over extended periods

of time, unnecessary stress and strain would develop. According to Dewey, children should not be required to engage

in this type of work until about 8 years of age.19

15. Consistent with Dewey's statement, information in a pamphlet distributed by a Southern California optometry clinic

explains that "Myopia may simply develop as a result of excessive near work and excessive near work may simply

mean going to school." "Consider the following statistics: only 4% of our 8 year-olds are nearsighted, whereas over

60% of our college students are nearsighted.20

16. Henry Hilgartner, MD, in a 1963 paper to the Texas Medical Society, noted that children's eyes, up to about the age

of 8 or 9, are more plastic than older eyes, and the outer covering of the eye (sclera) can be distorted by undue strain.

Until a youngster's eyes have developed more, they should not read much. This also means that brighter children

could have a greater risk if they are in a regular reading program before they are 8 years old.21

17. Studies in Japan and Alaska strongly indicate that the introduction of compulsory education, with the attendant close

work required of young children, has resulted in significant increases of cases of myopia in those societies.22

18. Dr. Chen Tzay-jinn23, as Director-General of the Health Promotion Bureau under the Department of Health in

Taiwan24, observed, "The growth of nearsightedness among young children is thought to result from learning to

Page 2 of 4


1 David Elkind, Miseducation; Preschoolers at Risk (New York, Kopf, 1987), 83.

2 David Elkind, Miseducation; Preschoolers at Risk (1987; New York, Kopf, 1997), 69.

3 Benjamin S. Bloom, Stability and Change in Human Characteristics (New York: Wiley and Sons, 1964).

4 Arthur R. Jensen, "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?" Harvard Educational Review 39, Winter (1969):


5 Nancy Bayley, "Development of Mental Abilities." Carmichael's Manual of Child Psychology I. Ed. John Mussen (New York:

Wiley & Sons, 1970), 1163-1209.

6 Sarah Friedman is a principal investigator on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of

Early Child Care and Youth Development. This study has been ongoing since 1989.

7 Sarah Friedman, summary presentation to NIH Child Care Board, Does Amount of Time Spent in Child Care Predict Socioemotional

Adjustment During the Transition to Kindergarten?, NIH Child Care Board Meeting Minutes, 5 June 2003.

8 Susanna Loeb, et al, How Much is Too Much? - The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Development Nationwide, (Stanford

University and the University of California). Summary pages 2-3. Presented at Association for Policy Analysis and Management,

Washington, D.C., 4 November 2005.

See also: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research, "Duration and Developmental

Timing of Poverty and Children's Cognitive and Social Development From Birth Through Third Grade," Child Development 76,

(Aug. 2005): 795-810.

9 Jay Belskey, et al, "Are There Long-Term Effects of Early Child Care?"; Child Development 78, (March/April 2007): 681-701.

10 Dr. David A. Scott, "Day Care and Democracy in Eastern Europe" (A talk on Democracy in Eastern Europe, c. 1989).

11 Cheri Fuller, Early Schooling: An Idea Whose Time Has Gone? (Southwest Policy Institute, Policy Study, No. 2, 4 December


12 Lawrence J. Schweinhart, The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (

perrymain.htm, 2004), 12-13.

13 P.D. Forgione, and R.S. Moore, The Rationales For Early Childhood Education Policy Making, (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Hewitt

Page 3 of 4

read very young and using computers very young...." Lin Lung-kuang, ophthalmology professor at National Taiwan

University, said, "Myopia cannot be cured. We have to prevent children from becoming nearsighted. Don't let them

use their vision too early...."25

19. According to the American Optometric Association, "There is ... growing evidence that nearsightedness may be

caused by the stress of too much close vision work. It normally first occurs in school age children. Since the eye

continues to grow during childhood, nearsightedness generally develops before age 20."26

20. Replicated research has consistently demonstrated that on the average girls develop formal academic skills at an

earlier age than boys.27 Many studies suggest that the decreased self esteem experienced by boys has resulted in

much of their antisocial and delinquent behavior. This can be traced to the failures in their early school experiences

due to their comparatively slower development.28

21. In another study of first through sixth graders it was noted that 70% of readers with visual, perceptual, or refractive

problems were boys.29 It is significant that boys lag behind girls in their development from 6 to 12 months. Stanley

Krippner noted from his research that boys made up 90% of disabled readers.30 This is supported by Bickel &

Maynard in their 2004 paper on "No Child Left Behind."31

22. Dr. Raymond Moore32 points out, "What the child needs most to grow well is a warm one-to-one relationship with

a parent (or parent figure) who is always there to comfort and guide him. During the first crucial eight years, home

should be the child's only nest and parents the teachers of their children.





By Susan Darst Williams Ages & Stages 112 2008


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