What's Wrong With Starting School at 3 or 4?
Ask Our Neighbors, the
state is talking about paying for preschool for all children starting at age 3,
and allowing early entry to kindergarten for 4-year-olds who are ready. Doesn't
that sound like a good idea?
No, it goes against the findings of research
dating back to the 1960s and '70s, that structured, organized learning is
counter-productive in early childhood.
This is especially true of socially-disadvantaged
children. It is speculated that putting them in free day-care and preschool gives
a damaging message to their parents, that their own children aren't their
responsibility. That negative impression just gets worse and worse throughout
the child's schooling career for low-income parents, as government employees in
schools and other agencies gradually take over nutrition, emotional care,
health care, and all other facets of what is supposed to be the parent's job.
Some would say it's best to keep your child out
of school until age 8! They would say that the current push to add "classes"
for 3-year-old's, 4-year-old's and 5-year-old's in our nation's public schools
is "robbing the cradle."
For more about the dangers of this movement, see
the book, Better Late Than Early, by
Raymond Moore, available on www.amazon.com
It is interesting to note that research quoted in this older book is from the
1960s and '70s, but the findings are confirmed by the most up-to-date research,
over and over again.
Opponents of taxpayer-provided early childhood education say that
it tends to be "donated" at first, from left-wing foundations to get it in
place as an "entitlement," and then funding responsibility invariably shifts to
taxpayers. They say adding two or three more years to the K-12 schooling
expense tab is heavily promoted by the teachers' unions as an attempt to bring
more members to their unions and more revenue stream into the public schools.
Bottom line: child development experts and family advocates both love
the idea of parents doing a better job rearing their children in intelligent,
loving ways, but hate the idea of early entry to formalized schooling. You and
other concerned citizens should be speaking out against it.
It is helpful to look at other countries that have funded "free"
preschool, including England, where the "SureStart" program has been a total
flop. Also note that Finland, which is often lauded as the top of the world in standardized test scores,
does not even start children in school until after age 6.
An example close to home is Canada. Canada has had a horrible experience with free,
universal preschool. Children from two-income families in Quebec who used the
free day-care were found in a study to have much more aggression and illness, and
less-developed motor-social skills.
the study reported negative consequences not only among the children, but among
the parents, too. They found much more hostility and inconsistent parenting
among the moms and dads, with worse parental health and lower quality of
distressing of all results, the researchers reported that the children had 17
times the hostility and 3 times the anxiety of children who remained in in-home
researchers were from the University of Toronto, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, and the University of British Columbia. See this report:
Homework: Additional information on this
topic is available on www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=2791
and also see: www.heritage.org/Research/Education/BG1701.cfm