Preschool a necessity or a sham?

  • By Team TDO

Yes meet the all-new brave generation of young toddlers that have absolutely no choice at all but to fall in line and go to a school where they will learn skills that their parents couldn’t possibly teach them. Skills that purportedly teach them all it takes to be a brilliant at math, academically sound and yes not to forget, great at inter-personal relationships too!

A charmed life indeed! A great way to begin in a world that just gets fiercely competitive by the day, isn’t it? Or well, maybe on second thoughts, it is just a case of parents being too busy with their personal lives and that’s where this entire pre-school trend has spawned from?

Go on take our money and while you are at it wash away some of the guilt! And tell us what we want to hear! Hey after all you are indeed giving your child the best possible expensive preschool in town, aren't you? Sure he/she is going to turn out all right since they have a syllabus built along what has worked brilliantly well in the most of US of A and better part of Europe, so no reason why it shouldn’t work on your brat.

Sorry for the hardline stance on this one, but really there is no real evidence that Preschool confers any of the benefits that such schools claim to bring about in children about 3-4 years of age i.e. the pre-kindergarteners. The entire Preschool phenomenon is a subject of controversy the world over.

There are parents who will gladly pay the asking price for pre-school but is it really necessary?

According to changing trends the world over with nuclear families and double incomes and high divorce rates and single motherhood preschool does seem to have its place. It must have begun as someone’s idea of a day care crèche with educational benefits and the trend caught on. Opinions can be sharply divided in terms of the efficacy of preschools as veritable guardians of the children entrusted to their care.

Quoting Todd Grindal, an education expert at the Harvard Graduate School of Education - “Children need to develop a healthy and strong brain architecture," says. "The experiences kids have in the early years have profound effects on their futures," he says. Considering a child's brain grows to 90 percent of its adult size by age five, the first few years are critical.

Preschool is necessary for the following:

Academic Achievement: Studies show that the benefits of preschool include overall academic achievement and school success, less grade repetition and special education and increased high school graduation rates. According to Barnett, high-quality preschool programs benefit children from middle-income families as well as from low-income families.

School Readiness: "A number of large-scale studies demonstrate that participation in high-quality, center-based pre-K programs positively influences all children's kindergarten readiness," says Barnett. "Positive impacts include gains in achievement test scores, including early literacy and math skills, as well as improvements in social and emotional development."

Social/Emotional Development: Nobel Laureate James Heckman, an economist at the University of Chicago, has noted that the long-term impacts of early education on social and emotional development - the skills that allow people to interact appropriately and effectively with others - may be the most important takeaways from preschool.

Social Progress: Heckman's research indicates a 7-10 percent annual return on investment in high-quality preschool, an ROI which has recently gained attention due to Obama's State of the Union address. Heckman argues that preschool is the time to teach kids the 'soft skills' (like focusing, keeping an open mind and controlling their tempers) they'll eventually need to succeed in the job market.

As opinion polls and research prompted NIEER Research University to publish a paper absolutely debunking the above stated myths of preschool.