Minimum schooling age getting lower and lower - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-09-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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I don't think it should be manditory...

But a few posters here have implied that they think no child should ever go to school before a certain age because it will hurt more then help...

DD wanted to to go the school at 4. She didn't want one of those "silly place where you play games all day." Either... As much as we tried to provide the intellectual pursuits she wanted at home, what she really desired was a structured, education based pre-k class. So we sent her and she loved it.

Now, she's a head in her class, she goes into the school year knowing that what she's going to learn are things she all ready knows. But she now officially chooses school, knowing full well that we can accomidate homeschooling. She likes the classroom setting. She likes having 24 other kids in her class she can interact with during down time. Even last year when her teacher was less the supportive, she loved it. And she is in no way learning to obay the government at every turn. She's not being socialized to follow every trend that comes along. She does her own thing and makes up her own mind about thing.

For some kids, 4 is a good time to start school. It's only for some kids that 4 is too young.

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Old 11-09-2008, 08:58 PM
 
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Recently I had someone tell me they were going to soon enroll their 3 y/o in preschool primarily because they wanted them to be better prepared for kindergarden. I took a moment in shock and awe and thought.... "what do you mean, prepare for kindergarden???" Kindergarden is supposed to be the introduction to what the next zillions years of school will be like (more so how your schedule will be ruled by school) and now people have gone beyond that and think that not only do you need kindergarden to prepare for the next upcoming year of school but, a couple years of pre-school to prepare for kindergarden? What!?

Now, I must admit that I will be sending my kiddos to good ol' public school (both will begin just prior to turning 6) but, I've neven concidered the thought that I'd need to send them off to someone else to help prepare them for that. I didn't have a single day of day care or pre school before starting kindergarden and I did just fine after that first scary hour by myself in a class full of strangers. Not saying it isn't tramatic sometimes for kids, starting kindergarden but, I hardly think throwing them in preschool is a solve all. I think while it may cure the first day gitters for kindergarden it just brews a whole new slue of problems.

I can remember most kids I went to school with assuming that "thier life" was what took place during school hours and time spend with friends while I personally felt that "my life" consisted of many components (including school and friends) but primarily took place at home with my family. I don;t blame kids feeling rasied by school on school nessesarily but rather on the lack of comittment parents have in whatever time is avaliable to them with their children. I must say it's across the board however. I've seen home schooled kids being just as withdrawn from family and dedication to learning.

Furthermore I think pre school (fancy term for daycare) is for children who have all of their family and friends working outside the home or tending to other nessesary NEEDS and unable to care for them 24/7 NOT to better accustome them to the education system, school scheduling, or social network of schools.

and honestly, these days, unless you have a kid who feels driven to excell at studies or emerse themselves in learning school is MOSTLY a social gathering. Even while school work is being done kids are thinking about their friends, cute boys, pretty girls, what they will do at recess, lunch, whos dating who, who started what rumor, checking their text messages or emails, etc. While social standings and dealings are a big and yes, important part of adult life and lesson learning kids really do get waaaaaaay too much time to focus on that during school hours. Why begin that earlier in life than you have to?

~TRACY, wife to loving dh, mommy to dd (10/05), ds(12/08), 3 kitties, & 2 pups.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:14 PM
 
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First, let me say that I'm a kindergarten teacher.

I do not believe pre-K should be mandatory, but I do believe full-day pre-K should be universally available in all districts.

I can tell them difference IMMEDIATLY between students who went to a good pre-K (the one at my school is excellent, so fun and enriching, I can't wait to send my own there). A good pre-K is primarily focused on experiences, sensory play, social development, and exposing children to the world of literacy and mathematics through age appropriate activities. (i.e. not any kind of skill lessons, but more along the lines of acting out favorite stories). Time to play with wood blocks, with the pets in the room, with open-ended dramatic play materials, etc, should make up a good portion of the day.

Of course, a great SAHP can provide all of this type of learning and enrichment. But not every child has access to a SAHP who talks to them, questions them, reads to them, takes them out into the world, and just generally interacts with them in brain-building ways. So many of my students are left to watch TV all day and play with those awful noise-making plastic leapfrog-type toys. That's not learning. A child doesn't begin to understand abstract and symbolic concepts until on average 5 years old. However, they do need to be exposed to some early reading and math skills in the years before K. The ability to hear sounds and take apart and put togerther words in fun ways is priceless.

And it is painfully obvious who was in daycare during their pre-K year. It's just not even close to the same. I'm sure there are wonderful day cares out there in the world for this age group, but I have yet to see one. Again, I don't doubt they exist.

The demands on kids in K in this country are HARD. I struggle every day trying to fit in experiential and hands-on learning into our day when district mandates push you so far in the other direction. A child who has no academic preparation at all (i.e. coming from an un-enriching home life or an un-enriching daycare) struggles for years and falls behind.

It's all about the quality of interaction in the first 4 years. Where that happens is not as important.
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Altair View Post

And it is painfully obvious who was in daycare during their pre-K year. It's just not even close to the same. I'm sure there are wonderful day cares out there in the world for this age group, but I have yet to see one. Again, I don't doubt they exist.

The demands on kids in K in this country are HARD. I struggle every day trying to fit in experiential and hands-on learning into our day when district mandates push you so far in the other direction. A child who has no academic preparation at all (i.e. coming from an un-enriching home life or an un-enriching daycare) struggles for years and falls behind.

It's all about the quality of interaction in the first 4 years. Where that happens is not as important.
Oh, please. I've got two kids who were in daycare, who are both in the gifted and talented program at our school, who both came into K reading and doing simple addition and subtraction. Study after study has shown that kids in decent quality daycare do as well as kids who are not in daycare. I'm not sure what planet you teach on, but good quality daycare does exist, and plenty of parents who use daycare also enrich the quality of their children's lives. You don't doubt they exist, yet you've never seen one.
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Old 11-10-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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I hAve to say I was completely horrified when my sister informed me that my nephew would be entering kindy next fall at age four - he won't turn 5 until December. WTF??? (We are in the USA in Massachusetts.)
My birthday is in November, and I was four when I started kindy. A lot of the kids in DD's class also don't turn 5 until December. Though here, schools give parents the option to wait an extra year to start kindy - DD's school encourages parents to make absolutely sure that their kids are ready to start kindergarten before enrolling them.
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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I would hope that parents could step back and not spend too much time judging when other parents choose to send their children to school. I know my kids best and I went with my gut as to when they were ready for a school type experience (preschool or whatever) as well as when they were ready for kindergarten. Some states do have later cut-offs and it is not unusual for a child to be four at the start of K. I was and both of my girls were. Some parents wait until their kids are 6.

The only problem with such divergent ages is that it makes the teacher's job more difficult and can "misdiagnose" some kids. For instance, the kids who are much older can be assumed to belong in the gifted and talented classes when, in fact, they are just developmentally older. The kids who are young can get pathologized for exhibiting developmentally normal behavior for their age. Labels tend to stick and kids can wind up being pigeon holed into places that are not right for them based upon assumptions made early on that had to do with their ages or experiences prior to starting school not their innate differences.

There is a big difference btwn mandatory early schooling and giving parents the option of deciding whether they want to utilize preschools and/or when to start their children in kindergarten.
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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Oh, please. I've got two kids who were in daycare, who are both in the gifted and talented program at our school, who both came into K reading and doing simple addition and subtraction. Study after study has shown that kids in decent quality daycare do as well as kids who are not in daycare. I'm not sure what planet you teach on, but good quality daycare does exist, and plenty of parents who use daycare also enrich the quality of their children's lives. You don't doubt they exist, yet you've never seen one.

I'm sure there are good daycare pre-K classes. And I'm sure there are children who get enough intellectual stimulation at home and are naturall y curious enough to seek it out on their own. What I said was that *I* have never seen a quality daycare pre-K program that really got kids ready fo kindergarten... yet I clearly also said that I don't doubt they do in fact exist. In my area, the children who come into my class from day care during their 4th year and far behind the kids who come from a school's pre-K.

In fact, we can see it across the school. Certain years our pre-K program was harder to get into for our neighborhood kids (like I said, it's a great program and the rich kids from the next zone were vying for spots and pushing our zoned kids out) and in those grades we have MUCH loser scores... because all those un-zoned kids left after pre-K and our K kids were all from local daycares. In the past few years we have fought to let our zoned kids have first priority for our pre-K, and now the kids we get in K are so prepared! And by prepared I mean nothing about letters and numbers, I mean pre-literacy emergent skills, critical thinking, and self-motivation.

Again, I'm sure there are daycare programs just as good as our pre-K, I just don't know of any personally. There are no requirments for what constitutes a good pre-K program in a daycare, so it's really all up to the philosophy of the director and teachers.
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