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What happened to early childhood? - Page 5

post #81 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post



 

Actually many close-knit loving families send their children to Early Learning Centers where the care tends to be better than daycare for a variety of reasons including working.  If you felt like you had a valid reason for your lifestyle choice why are you resorting to passive-aggressive digs on other parents?  That is something that people tend to do when they feel insecure about their choice and are trying to divert attention away from it any way possible so they don't have to think about it.  I am sure that every parent on this board chooses the environment that works for her child and her family with love and care.

 

Out of your own defensiveness you misconstrued my last sentence. I didn't say close-knit,loving families never send their kids to preschool or kindergarten or daycare. That is absurd. I was simply saying that early-learning environments are not necessary for a healthy, happy childhood. I disagree that kids need an early-start to academics, not that early academics are harmful or the product of a dysfunctional family.

post #82 of 118

i remember lots of awards in the 80's and kindergarten and grade school. I find nothing wrong with teaching small children. My dd will be going to preschool at 3. She has autism. This is PRIME learning time between 2-5 and very important for her to start. She started what we call "school" at 1. It is all play based.. no whips and tears lol

 

if you don't want my kid biting your kid you better hope we head to school because as of right now she has zero communication skills except biting where most her age are stringing sentences together.

post #83 of 118

I agree that a school environment is not necessary for a 3 or 4 year old, but I do think that a highly social one with lots of other kids is.

 

Up until a generation or two ago, very young children were kicked out of the house after breakfast so their mother could do the chores, and expected to play outdoors for most of the day with neighborhood children.  I would be willing to bet that this was a tradition that goes waaaaay back into pre-history.  Parents have work to do to ensure survival, and kids who are too young to be of any real help are just underfoot.  The idea that children 2+ were hanging out with their mothers all day just doesn't make any practical sense.

 

I would probably have her removed from my care if I sent my 3 year old out to do that.  So I send her to preschool.  Where she can be socialized with other children (and one of the reasons I like Montessori is the multi-age classrooms), and she's not bored and underfoot at home.

 

Oh, and for pretty much all of human history, people have lived in communities.  The whole "rugged homesteader miles from his neighbor" is basically a 19th century European adventure.  And 4 out of 5 of them gave up and went east within 5 years, largely because of the isolation.

post #84 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracysroberts View Post

I ran a preschool!  Waldorf is preschool!  This is not about judging even though I do believe there is one developmentally appropriate way of being with young children.   Sending your children to preschool is not what I am against.  And it isnt that I have just seen a few preschools.  I also know there are excellent ones out there.  Maybe yours was one of them, but what she is describing I would place money on it not being appropriate regardless of how many loving parents and teachers trying to do the best for their kids are there.


My child is beyond the preschhol age, but I've been following this thread with interest. I really do not understand the above statements.

How can there be "one developmentally appropriate way of being with young children" when children can differ so greatly in their development and their needs? What is a developmentally appropriate environment for my friend's child would be disastrous for my child with autism, hyperlexia, dyspraxia, and vision impairment. The same environment would be woefully inadequate for my neighbor's child with severe hearing impairment. Even children without disabilities vary widely in how they develop, their interests, their abilities, and their needs.

My son need a highly structured environment. He always has, even as a toddler. He cannot function appropriately in an unstructured setting. As I mentioned, he has hyperlexia as a feature of his autism. Hyperlexia is acompletelt different way of experiencing and processing language (this has been supported by fMRI studies). For all intents and purposes, the written word is my son's "native language" and teaching him verbal language is like teaching an adult a difficult foreign language. If we had withheld letters from him as a toddler, we would have deprived him of a way to communicate. My son's developmental path is unusual, but not unique. These things exist as a continuum, so children have varying traits, needs, and abilities.

I simply don't see how anyone can claim that there is only one way of being developmentally appropriate with young children.
post #85 of 118
Quote:

I simply don't see how anyone can claim that there is only one way of being developmentally appropriate with young children.


There are certain things are just not developmentally appropriate for most young children to do. Like it wouldn't be right to expect a 3 year old to tie their own shoes and spend 1 hour a day trying to teach them that.   I personally was not talking talking about special needs preschools. Those are run through our public school system with trained special ed teachers and other professionals on hand (speech etc). I personally know nothing about what is appropriate or not for a special needs child.  There are some preschool classroom models that are not developmentally appropriate for most children though. Like the daycare I visited that wanted my two year old doing tracing work sheets and sight word flash cards. Some parents like that and feel it gives their kids an edge(and that is their choice). I think it's not age appropriate and would much rather see my two year old exploring the properties of mud, using paint brushes, practicing buttoning, etc etc, There are plenty of fine motor activities that are age appropriate that a two year old could/should be doing. Work sheets have no place in a two yr old class room.    Children need to build up their muscles before they are ready for writing, including the large upper body muscles. It would benifit the kids more to install a set of IKEA rings and give them a box a duplos to play with. Those are activities they can be successful at. Giving most two yr olds a tracing worksheet is just setting them up for failure and frustration.  The sight words i just don't even know what to say about that. There are soooo many more appropriate and FUN language activities that can be done with 2 year olds!  Our kids should not be burnt out on school by third grade. We need more of a slow and steady approach that focuses on all areas of development, not just the testable skills. 

 

I hope no one was offended by my posts. I am not against preschool or  daycare. I just feel bad when I see parents panicked about what preschool their three yr old got into and when the preschool is saying said three year old is "behind" because they can't identify a square yet and they might need to repeat the threes class. It's just really getting out of control...... Kids need the freedom to develop at their own rates. Preschools need to provide the tools and guidance but step back and let the kids discover on their own. :) 

 

post #86 of 118

I've worked as an Early Childhood Education Specialist (and teacher.) Developmentally appropriate is just one piece of the puzzle. There's also individually appropriate and culturally appropriate.

post #87 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by meetoo View Post





There are certain things are just not developmentally appropriate for most young children to do. Like it wouldn't be right to expect a 3 year old to tie their own shoes and spend 1 hour a day trying to teach them that.   I personally was not talking talking about special needs preschools. Those are run through our public school system with trained special ed teachers and other professionals on hand (speech etc). I personally know nothing about what is appropriate or not for a special needs child.  There are some preschool classroom models that are not developmentally appropriate for most children though. Like the daycare I visited that wanted my two year old doing tracing work sheets and sight word flash cards. Some parents like that and feel it gives their kids an edge(and that is their choice). I think it's not age appropriate and would much rather see my two year old exploring the properties of mud, using paint brushes, practicing buttoning, etc etc, There are plenty of fine motor activities that are age appropriate that a two year old could/should be doing. Work sheets have no place in a two yr old class room.    Children need to build up their muscles before they are ready for writing, including the large upper body muscles. It would benifit the kids more to install a set of IKEA rings and give them a box a duplos to play with. Those are activities they can be successful at. Giving most two yr olds a tracing worksheet is just setting them up for failure and frustration.  The sight words i just don't even know what to say about that. There are soooo many more appropriate and FUN language activities that can be done with 2 year olds!  Our kids should not be burnt out on school by third grade. We need more of a slow and steady approach that focuses on all areas of development, not just the testable skills. 

 

I hope no one was offended by my posts. I am not against preschool or  daycare. I just feel bad when I see parents panicked about what preschool their three yr old got into and when the preschool is saying said three year old is "behind" because they can't identify a square yet and they might need to repeat the threes class. It's just really getting out of control...... Kids need the freedom to develop at their own rates. Preschools need to provide the tools and guidance but step back and let the kids discover on their own. :) 

 


Did you read the rest of the thread?  Where many posters described how their child did much better in preschool than out?  My younger son was tracing things at 2.  Not because I forced it, but because he wanted to be like his brother.  Was I supposed to make my (then) 6 year old not do the math problems he begged me to make him just so I wouldn't damage his little brother?

 

Oh and my 5 year old was tying his shoes at 3.  We certainly didn't make him practice an hour a day.  He begged dh to show him how and kept trying until he got it.  It was much less than an hour a day.  I think it's much more damaging to hold a child back from something that they obviously want to know and do than it is to follow their lead.  Believe me, I'd prefer my 9 year old didn't want to do college algebra because I'm terrible at it.

 

I don't think posting these types of complaints on MDC is the best venue for it.  We all put a huge amount of thought into what we do with our children.  Seeing a picture of a letter on a preschool's wall and bashing all preschool parents is a little more judgmental than I was going for when I came here. 
 

 

post #88 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post

I don't think posting these types of complaints on MDC is the best venue for it.  We all put a huge amount of thought into what we do with our children.  Seeing a picture of a letter on a preschool's wall and bashing all preschool parents is a little more judgmental than I was going for when I came here. 
 

 

 

Yes. That's what bugged me about the OP. It was pretty judgmental about how everything is awesome in Germany and at Waldorf schools but in the non-Waldorf US, preschool children are being forced to sit at desks and write all day. And all of this was based on seeing pictures on a FB page. I don't think she really meant that, but it was the way that it came across.

 

I've had experience with both academic and playbased preschools. My oldest two went to just the playbased school. I was working more by the time my youngest started so he went to the playbased school in the afternoon and in the mornings, he went to the more academic early intervention preschool as a peer model. Yes, they did have pictures of letters up and did try to teach him some letters, etc. but they also played a lot, went outside to the playground, went on field trips to the library and pumpkin patch, etc. They were not making kids practice shoe tying for an hour or doing math worksheets. I did like the play based school better but I wouldn't fault someone for choosing the more academic preschool for their child. My son really enjoyed going there too. And a lot of parents don't have much of a choice of where to send their child. For some parents, the choice might be between our school district's more academic free preschool or leaving their child with Grandma where he will watch soaps and Dr. Phil all day. I sure wouldn't want to make those parents feel bad that they couldn't send their child to the $$$ playbased school.

post #89 of 118

As is often the case, I think culture is playing a role and many people here are not understanding the cultural differences.  We lived in Germany when our dd was a toddler.  I *do* understand the cultural differences, OP, and I understand what you're saying.

 

However, the education that kids receive in the US can.not.at.all be compared to the educational system in most of Europe, including Germany.  It's a rare child in Germany who isn't WAY beyond their American peers academically with only a couple of years of formal education.  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined).  That's also what makes Europeans better at things like science, math, and problem solving when they are older.  My dh, who is a computer science prof says that non-American students that have just a high school education are usually more academically advanced than American students with post-secondary degrees.  But starting early vs. the intensity is not a fair comparison at a young age.  (We have many, many friends, including dh's best friend with 5 kids who have been in the German education system... and some who have been in both the German and American systems, so I'm well aware of the differences.)  It doesn't matter what American kids do.  They'll never catch up to their non-US peers because the whole system is screwed up.

 

So, what I'm saying is that perhaps academics start earlier here, but the quality is so extremely dismal that people who care about education do worry.  You are comparing apples and oranges and the education systems are dissimilar enough that those who only know the (North) American way of education are raising their hackles a bit out of simple ignorance.  They can't see where you're coming from.

 

And, in the spirit of full disclosure, our dd attends a rigorous ACADEMIC immersion school.  This is a private international baccalaureate school that goes to grade 12.  Its rigorous academic environment is what we felt was best for dd based on her personality and we were relieved that dd tested into the school.  Years later we see that we made the right choice.  Dd needs this environment.  She loves it and thrives.  You would seriously disapprove of it, though, most likely.  If we were still in Germany, things would be different, though.  As it is, although she started earlier than the kids do in Deutschland, she'll receive about an equal education, but it is due to early start, academic rigor and language immersion.  And FTR, she still enjoys her childhood.  Schooling and play need not be mutually exclusive.

post #90 of 118


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post




Did you read the rest of the thread?  Where many posters described how their child did much better in preschool than out?  My younger son was tracing things at 2.  Not because I forced it, but because he wanted to be like his brother.  Was I supposed to make my (then) 6 year old not do the math problems he begged me to make him just so I wouldn't damage his little brother?

 

Oh and my 5 year old was tying his shoes at 3.  We certainly didn't make him practice an hour a day.  He begged dh to show him how and kept trying until he got it.  It was much less than an hour a day.  I think it's much more damaging to hold a child back from something that they obviously want to know and do than it is to follow their lead.  Believe me, I'd prefer my 9 year old didn't want to do college algebra because I'm terrible at it.

 

I don't think posting these types of complaints on MDC is the best venue for it.  We all put a huge amount of thought into what we do with our children.  Seeing a picture of a letter on a preschool's wall and bashing all preschool parents is a little more judgmental than I was going for when I came here. 
 

 


no no!! I'm sorry my post is being misunderstood. Kids all learn at different rates. One of my kids rode a bike at two, it doesn't mean I should be expecting my now two year old to ride a bike just because her brother was able to. She isn't wired that way and isn't ready.  I taught one of my kids to read at four because that child asked and wanted to learn to read. It doesn't mean all kids are ready to read at four though. I'm not at all against preschool. I sent one of my kids to preschool.  That child loved it and has a blast and I would have sent my others there had we not moved. It was a great preschool. :)  I don't agree with seeing a facebook picture and bashing parents. We have no idea what goes on in those classrooms. Having ABC pictures on the walls means nothing IMO.  I can however relate to the feeling that early ed in this country is much to focused on academics and "readiness skills".  This is of course relative to where I live and the preschools, childcare centers, kindergartens I have visited/have experience  with.  The majority (that i see) are very focused on reading and math skills and feeling a lot of pressure from parents and elementary schools to have the kids "ready" for the K standards. It is leaving out free choice/free play time for the children. I am not at all saying children should not be allowed to do things just because they are doing it early.That is just absurd!!  Really I'm so sorry if you got that out of my post!  :)

post #91 of 118


Quote:

Originally Posted by velochic View Post

However, the education that kids receive in the US can.not.at.all be compared to the educational system in most of Europe, including Germany.  It's a rare child in Germany who isn't WAY beyond their American peers academically with only a couple of years of formal education.  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined).  That's also what makes Europeans better at things like science, math, and problem solving when they are older.  My dh, who is a computer science prof says that non-American students that have just a high school education are usually more academically advanced than American students with post-secondary degrees.  But starting early vs. the intensity is not a fair comparison at a young age.  (We have many, many friends, including dh's best friend with 5 kids who have been in the German education system... and some who have been in both the German and American systems, so I'm well aware of the differences.)  It doesn't matter what American kids do.  They'll never catch up to their non-US peers because the whole system is screwed up.



I think that this is an excellent point.  Doesn't Germany still do the system where you take a very intensive test when you're 10 or 13 or something like that to see if you'll even be allowed to continue academic schooling and eventually end up at University?  Somehow I doubt that, if a child only starts school at 7 and then is expected to take this test just a few years later, those years are filled with skipping through the forest looking at gnomes.  I would also assume that, even if it's not widely noticed by people from a different country/culture (i.e. us), there's plenty of on-the-down-low prep work that starts well before formal schooling begins to make sure that kids start on the right track to acing their exams.

post #92 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post


Quote:



I think that this is an excellent point.  Doesn't Germany still do the system where you take a very intensive test when you're 10 or 13 or something like that to see if you'll even be allowed to continue academic schooling and eventually end up at University?  Somehow I doubt that, if a child only starts school at 7 and then is expected to take this test just a few years later, those years are filled with skipping through the forest looking at gnomes.  I would also assume that, even if it's not widely noticed by people from a different country/culture (i.e. us), there's plenty of on-the-down-low prep work that starts well before formal schooling begins to make sure that kids start on the right track to acing their exams.


I've wondered about that too. I don't know enough about the stats to have a clue, but I've wondered if they take tracking into account when they are coming up with the stats saying the U.S. is doing so poorly. I also wondering if they are taking into account the huge educational gaps with have in our country related to race and socioeconomics. Are our "good" school that far behind? Or is it the huge gaps we have with our poorer schools preforming terribly. I think there is also a culture in this country that just doesn't value education..... 

 

Lindberg99: I hope my post didn't come off as judgmental. My issue is not with parents. I honestly see nothing wrong with parents choosing a academic school for their children. that is there choice and  who knows in 20 years it may turn out they were right. LOL. The part where you mentioned that parents have to send their kids to the preschool they didn't quite agree with because it was all there was it what I'm talking about. I disagree with universal preschool and standards for preschool because of this. The school districts IME turn preschool into just more of the same ole standard based education, where everyone needs to be on the same page to pass the third grade test. A rich preschool experience will benefit children even if they don't learn to read and write until they are in K.  I think it's a shame parents are left with less and less choice(again this is relitive to my own experiences).  I was almost in the same boat. The daycare I was complaining about because they had the kids doing tracing pages and sight words was actually number one on my list. It was one of only two centers with a spot and the other one was disgusting!! At least that one seemed clean and safe and the staff was trying, even if I disagreed with the methods.  It's crappy parents are put in these situations everyday. same thing when people complain about horrible public school is. There are many crappy public schools and many awesome ones, but there are HOARDS of parents who have no choice but to send them to public school and make the best out of it.Whether they are in a top district or not.   Not everyone can afford private school. My issues are not with parents. Even when they disagree with me. It's their child, their right. My issues is with the tone of early ed and the overall system it's becoming. :) 

post #93 of 118

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post

I understand where you are coming from, because I felt the very same way. I was very anti-early academics and sent my son to Waldorf preschool - I planned to do Waldorf through Kindy at least, maybe longer.

 

But he didn't thrive there - we didn't know it yet then, but he has Aspergers. He needed more structure and early academics. He's thriving in public school - and yes, thrived on the early introduction of reading, which I was so against.  Like everything else AP, you have to listen to your child and do what they need.

 

Not that all of your friends have little Aspies like mine, lol, but you never know. I do agree that the trend towards early introduction of those things is disturbing to me, but there are kids that do really well with it. I took my son out of Waldorf after a year, and into a preschool program that taught reading, math, etc ... and he was reading in a week and loving it. I don't know .. there is something to be said for it if you are going to follow the public school/mainstream path because in Kindy, nearly every kid in his class was like him, and already somewhat reading (if not very well) before the school year started.

 

My son is 8, going on 9 and will be entering 3rd grade. I can easily imagine how miserable he would be in Waldorf. I guess I'm more open minded now about early academics. No, I don't like thinking of preschoolers sitting at desks .. and yes, I love the beauty of Waldorf. But I also see some of the benefits of the more structured programs, and I know many of them are still play based most of the day, even if they do introduce academics.  It's not nearly as clear cut to me as it used to me, that's for sure.


I agree - and my child is the same age as yours.  I was really into the idea of waiting to teach reading until the child was older and "ready".  I had read a bunch of the Waldorf stuff, some research papers about developmental readiness for reading and decided that I would not introduce reading until DC was about 7.  DC started at a Waldorf pre-K (didn't thrive there) and then went to a play based pre-K.  There were books and some letters and numbers but it was not the focus.  DC thrived there.  It was my opinion (and still is) that at that age they are learning a huge variety of things and adult led learning takes away from the task for that age.  As DC progressed in school, however, I did change my tune a lot when it comes to learning.  DC is in a public school and I think she actually needed far MORE direct reading instruction than she got.  In retrospect I think my notions about reading readiness hindered her progress because I recognized her reading struggles as simply not being ready when, in fact, she needed a different kind of instruction.  

post #94 of 118

Something else that impacts all of this is how much time a child actually spends in preschool - when my oldest was 2.5 -3.5 I worked ft for a year and he went to a Montessori.  I have worked at home pt while my second (and now my third child are ps age) I picked an inexpensive church based ps because it seems like a warm environment and honestly the location is great....my son was only there 2.5 hours twice a week.  They had loads of free play time, snack, a bathroom break, a trip to the playground, and time set aside for having the teacher read them a story, sing songs, and do a little craft.  Even if the teachers decide to introduce letters or numbers...there isn't enough time to do it with any sort of intensity.

 

I think I worry about the preschool philosophy a little less now that I also have kids who are in upper grades - honestly they all left ps feeling good about themselves and school and with some experience cooperating in a classroom environment. That is what was most important to me - how they feel so I am not willing to sweat the philosophy quite so hard as when I was researching this all prior to any of my kids attending ps.

 

As an aside, I agree with meetoo...it is strange to me to compare the US public schools to schools abroad in such a singular way when there is such variety amongst the US public schools.  I attended schools in one state growing up and we moved to another state while I was in high school.  The schools in the second state were terrible compared with schools in the first state.  I am currently not living in either state, but I would be comfortable sending my kids to public school in the first state. However, I would TRY to send them to private school or hs if I was living in the second state.  We have many international students in my son's elementary school - recent immigrants from Poland, Denmark, Israel, Germany, and Korea....the parents all seem pleased with the quality of instruction.  Unfortunately, it varies widely by where you live and how much you are able to pay in taxes.

post #95 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

However, the education that kids receive in the US can.not.at.all be compared to the educational system in most of Europe, including Germany.  It's a rare child in Germany who isn't WAY beyond their American peers academically with only a couple of years of formal education.  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined).  That's also what makes Europeans better at things like science, math, and problem solving when they are older.  My dh, who is a computer science prof says that non-American students that have just a high school education are usually more academically advanced than American students with post-secondary degrees.  But starting early vs. the intensity is not a fair comparison at a young age.  (We have many, many friends, including dh's best friend with 5 kids who have been in the German education system... and some who have been in both the German and American systems, so I'm well aware of the differences.)  It doesn't matter what American kids do.  They'll never catch up to their non-US peers because the whole system is screwed up.

 

So, what I'm saying is that perhaps academics start earlier here, but the quality is so extremely dismal that people who care about education do worry.  You are comparing apples and oranges and the education systems are dissimilar enough that those who only know the (North) American way of education are raising their hackles a bit out of simple ignorance.  They can't see where you're coming from.


Whoa whoa, I am not sure whether it's just your impression of German education that is far too rosy or whether it's your impression of US education that is far too dismal, too.

 

 

Quote:
I've wondered about that too. I don't know enough about the stats to have a clue, but I've wondered if they take tracking into account when they are coming up with the stats saying the U.S. is doing so poorly. I also wondering if they are taking into account the huge educational gaps with have in our country related to race and socioeconomics. Are our "good" school that far behind? Or is it the huge gaps we have with our poorer schools preforming terribly.  

 

 

The international stats, precisely, do not say the US is doing so poorly: check out the PISA http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/12/46643496.pdf and TIMMS surveys. According to PISA, 15 year olds in the US, as a whole, are only slightly behind 15 year olds in Germany, as a whole, in maths and science and somewhat ahead in reading. According to TIMMS, 4th graders in the US, as a whole, do rather better than 4th graders in Germany in maths http://timss.bc.edu/TIMSS2007/PDF/T07_M_IR_Chapter2.pdf and rather better in science

http://timss.bc.edu/TIMSS2007/PDF/T07_S_IR_Chapter2.pdf (Massachusetts and Minnesota do much better).

 

So where is Velochic coming from? Velochic, judging from your siggie, I think you may be generalizing from your impressions from southern Bavaria, where German education is as rigorous as it gets, and ignoring the huge regional and socio-economic disparities between North and South in Germany, which must be as big as the disparities related to race and socioeconomics in the US. Education in the Bavarian Alps (completely irrelevant aside: they are lovely aren't they? We've just come back from our vacation) is taking place as much on a different planet compared to places like Berlin or Bremen as education in suburban Massachusetts compared to, say, inner city Detroit. Bavaria as a state would rank among the top ten PISA states, way above the US. And while tracking is being taken into account in those stats globally (they make sure they have representative samples from all relevant tracks) if you just look at college track schools in Bavaria, high school classes (particularly advanced level classes which are sadly being discontinued) are easily at university level, and I think there is a high quality foreign langage and humanities provision which is usually completely ignored in those stats. But however you look at it, there is just no reason to say that the US as a whole are doing worse than Germany.

 .
Some things I'd like to clarify for the discussion (not sure whether anyone is interested, but some stuff I can't just let stand): Formal education in Germany does not start at 7, but with entry into 1st grade at 6, for fall-born kids it might be 5. Holding out on academics until age 7 is Waldorf teaching. German cutoffs for 1st grade, depending on the state, are very similar to the US (between June 30 and as late as Dec 31, and in some states redshirting is now prohibited in favour of retaining students for a third year in 1st/2nd splits if necessary).

Quote:

Doesn't Germany still do the system where you take a very intensive test when you're 10 or 13 or something like that to see if you'll even be allowed to continue academic schooling and eventually end up at University?  Somehow I doubt that, if a child only starts school at 7 and then is expected to take this test just a few years later, those years are filled with skipping through the forest looking at gnomes.  I would also assume that, even if it's not widely noticed by people from a different country/culture (i.e. us), there's plenty of on-the-down-low prep work that starts well before formal schooling begins to make sure that kids start on the right track to acing their exams.

Not a test - it's heavily depending on the state again, but usually it's about maintaining a B average in early 4th grade. And while there is no skipping through the forest looking at gnomes (lol.gif you made my day with that one!) and the expectations are high, the school day is short (8.00 through 11.15 h in 1st grade, 8.00 through 13.00 h in fourth) and the prep work is being done in the afternoons by the German hausfrau who can't go to work anyway as childcare isn't available -  or not at all, if the hausfrau is an immigrant and has no idea (that sounds bitter and judgmental but is true).

However: there is NO prep work before 1st grade. Not at home, not in preschools. There is, really and truly, a cultural prohibition on academics before a child starts formal schooling (exceptions like the preschool physmom mentioned proving the rule). While there is a K year, it's a pullout in preschool and usually a bit of a joke (visits to the dentist and the firestation once every two weeks, stuff like that) and certainly no letters, beyond making sure the kids can sign their art work.


Edited by Tigerle - 6/20/11 at 12:52am
post #96 of 118

I totally understand where you coming from, even though I think there isn't a good way to really know for sure how these kids are being taught unless you've seen it firsthand.

 

I get upset by the trend, mostly because I've seen how hard it can be on children who just aren't ready yet.  I knew how to read pretty well and both subtract and add by the time I entered Kindergarten at 5-6 years of age.  I was very interested in those subjects though, and in between being a wild and crazy child who spent most of her time in the great outdoors, I'd ask my parents for math problems for fun and I'd read my little books to myself and/or my little sister as we fell asleep.

 

My brother didn't actually sit and read a book until he was something like 12 years old - he HATED them.  Schools pushed him from such a young age though that it would frustrate him and I honestly believe that if he hadn't been pushed from such a young age to read that he would have felt more comfortable trying to read.

 

Aedan is only 8 weeks old but I'm constantly thinking about how I'm going to let him be responsible for what he learns and how he learns it and when he learns it.  Personally, we probably won't be sending him to a preschool, but if we did I'd hope that it was fairly neutral on letting the LO's figure out what their interests are more.

post #97 of 118

Actually, my dd was never educated in Germany... we moved back before she was old enough.  My impressions are of US vs. NON-US.  Not just Bavaria, but of education systems ALL around the world compared to the US.  In my dh's family, who is not an American, their educational backgrounds range from Turkish to Armenian to Italian to French to German and for us personally French and Spanish and English.  We have several friends who are raising their kids in even more diverse educational systems... from Asia and the South Pacific to Latin American and Eastern Europe.  My impressions are based both on evidence seen with my own eyes and based on discussions with friends and family (some in pedagogical professions, including my dh himself who is university professor).  There actually isn't a single American in dh's department and the discussion of primary and secondary education is a topic of interest among his colleagues.  They are the product of non-American education and they see a diverse student body that is both American and non-American.  Year after year they see the same thing... American students aren't nearly as prepared as non-US students.  I don't really care what a "study" says because these statistics can and ARE skewed to prove a point.  For me, it is more evident that non-US education is more rigorous because we are seeing it first-hand with our own family and friends... and through dh's career itself.  I don't need to read an article... I just have to look at the very people in my life to see that American education is dismal compared to non-US-based curricula.  No wonder people feel they need to get a jump start on education in the US.

post #98 of 118


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by velochic View Post

  Once kids in Germany start school, it is INTENSE beyond anything that occurs in the US.  Great, the kids get a break until they're 7, but then after that, the academics are much more intense than anything we have in the US (except for private schools that are academically-inclined). 


 

I am not sure what you mean by intense? School in the first few years starts at 8am and is out at 11. 5 days a week. That's it. US schools seem to have much longer hours and require much more desk time.

 

Honestly, reading reactions here in the thread and becoming more and more aware of the ridiculous child care system in the US just makes me want to leave this country. Alternative and playbased daycare just is not affordable. People think I go crazy by letting my child walk barefoot on the street. Every play is directed. Kids cannot play alone until their into their teens. At daycare no child goes outside if it rains or if it is "too cold" or "too hot". This is not how I want to raise my children.

 

 

post #99 of 118

I agree!

post #100 of 118

I appreciate Tigerle's post (and other's too) for clarifying some of the differences between education in DE compared to the US.  I also spent some time in Germany and my DC started "school" there by attending a ex-communicated Waldorf pre-K when she was 3.  I also visited many other pre-K's picking up friend's children and etc.  I thought they were cute schools but not significantly different from the American preschool that DC would attend when she was 5. 

 

Even more than in Germany where you do have some variety of preschools (neighborhood, Waldorf, Montessori, International) there is just HUGE variety in American preschools.  First, you have Headstart, which is a public option.  Then you have a zillion private options that range in style like you just can't believe.  Also, unlike in Germany where (correct me if I am wrong) most kids start at 3, American preschoolers start anywhere from a young age (often for child care) to just doing one pre-K year at 4/5 years old.  

 

Any parent of young children in the US looking into preschool should just talk to families in your area.  I think you may be surprised by the wonderful programs out there.  I actually preferred DC's American pre-K and highly recommend a program like it.  It's called a parent coop preschool.  I'm sure there is even huge variety in how those are run though.  There are also good resources online about how to start your own coop preschool, which is a great affordable option (if you don't work out of the home full-time).  

 

Even with American public schools there may be some variety if you're in an area that supports charter or magnet school options.  My DC's current school is a public charter school.  Its main selling point is that it's small (relatively) - 150 kids total from K-5.  The kindergarten program is very, very sweet.  They do learn some academic stuff but the classroom is FULL of art, things from nature and etc.  They do "graduate" and I think they do that in part because kindergarten is so different academically from what they will be introduced to in 1st grade.  

 

I guess my long drawn out point is that if you can't even generalize about a relatively small country like Germany, it's very, very difficult to generalize about American pre-K/elementary schools.  I also think we tend to idealize and criticize when it comes to something as dear to us as our children's education.  Just as Americans may chuckle when someone from another country praises some aspect of our school system (it does happen LOL!) many Germans may find it odd that their schools are held to such high esteem (I personally knew many people disillusioned by the German school system).  

 

ETA:  What is the role of Waldorf school in DE?  What is their relationship to the public education system?  What about "regular" pre-K (Kindergarten)?  Are all pre-K schools private?  Are they subsidized?  

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