Monday, August 25, 2008

Is preschool the enemy?

Well, this weekend I threw a party and went to church and ate at Chipotle with my parents and now I'm sick. I don't know if being sick has to do with any of those other things, but it does have to do with why I'm home reading blogs in the middle of the day.

Also over the weekend, Playful Childhood posted "Protect Our Kids from Preschool," which referenced a Wall Street Journal article and studies suggesting preschool may not be beneficial for children.

(If you want to read it, I'll wait. No, really, it's ok. It's short, and I wanted a snack break anyway.)

So, as I was saying...while I respect the opinion of that post, I am not sure I totally agree with it. Is it preschool itself that is the problem? Or is the type of preschool? What about children who went to preschool for 6 hours a week? Or 9? Were the results the same with fewer hours? Perhaps it is the preschools (or the parents) that are pushing kids that are the real problem.

Not all preschools do this. Some focus on making learning fun with creative, age-appropriate activities. Children not only learn colors, shapes, etc., they learn how to share, how to sit (for short periods of time) and listen, and how to play nicely with others. Sometimes preschool is the only place a child has the opportunity to finger paint or use scissors or play in the sand.

Is it possible to do these things at home? Yes. Does every parent? No.

I don't believe that we should have universal preschool. But I think we should have preschool as an option. When preschool is done right, I believe it complements - rather than counteracts - a playful childhood.

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