The preschool scenario today
“Early-childhood education is the next wave of education reform."
There are several driving forces behind a good preschool education :
- The increase in the number of two-earner and single-parent households. More than 60 percent of the children under age 5 are in some sort of out-of-home care on a regular basis;
- Recent advances in scientific understanding of brain development, which has led to the realization that the early-childhood years are a crucial learning period;
- Growing recognition by policy makers that some children have more opportunities than others, and good early education should be part of an education system for all kids.
Unfortunately, the trend now for preschools is to create kids who can come out reading and writing and doing maths. These are not necessarily bad things, but research evidence has demonstrated that the best way to acquire those skills is to first have a really good social and emotional development base. What is worrying is the trend toward emphasizing academic skills only to the exclusion of social and emotional skills and development.
Kindergarten teachers agree that their greatest challenges are often not the kids who don’t know their numbers, but the kids who lack the social, emotional and self-regulatory skills necessary to be in a classroom.