Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Preschool study finds bright side, dark side It helps language, math -- can hurt social development

This is a very interesting study. It says that the wealthier the family, the more children's "social development" suffers from going to pre-school. That makes the universal pre-school advocates' claim that any shortcomings for the children are due to low-quality care very hard to buy. Surely the wealthier people have access to the best preschools, I mean, come on.
I thought it was very strange that, in this article, the only explaination the researchers could come up with was that kids who weren't in preschool were getting taken to fancy classes, like dance and music lessons, instead of preschool. It never even occured to this guy that maybe family life -- like helping parents care for siblings, learning at home -- could be benefitting kids socially more than preschool? Nope, apparently it's got to be the dance classes.
And by the way, I'm not hatin' on the preschool people. I'm totally in favor of free preschool available to all -- heck, we should even have free daycare available to all from birth on. But I think of that as more of a parents' rights issue, as in minimizing the crushing financial and career sacrifices brought on by parenthood.
The study's just more food for thought for Epu and I on when Nutmeg will start preschool, and how much of it she'll go to. I'm thinking no more than 3 mornings a week, starting no earlier than 3.3 years. Because hey, she has the rest of her life to be institutionalized. And according to this study, Nutmeg has the most to lose and the least to gain than kids in other demographics.
To all you moms and dads whose kids have or are attending way more childcare or preschool than that, more power to ya. Obviously they are far from having the whole cost/benefit analysis figured out, and I don't know anyone who's walking around purposely making anything but the best possible choices for their own families. Except maybe me, because the photo I am about to post shows just how unfit Epu and I are to have responsibility over another human being. Really, a hamster would probably be too much responsibility for us.


Notta Wallflower said...

It also didn't mention if the preschools were "mixed". What I mean by that is did all the preschools have normally developing children mixed with children with delays (behavioral, speech, etc). As someone who works with kids with disabilities, I like mixed classrooms because my kids get good role models for all sorts of things. However, I've seen "normal" kids get put in classes with several behaviorally disordered children and they start to look behaviorally disordered too....

Anonymous said...

For you Star Wars fans, here's some more information on the ""dark side" of daycare.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I'd sort of had this fantasy that we'd start Elliott in preschool at 2, rather than daycare, and I'd be able to work while he's there. I don't know why -- maybe I subconsciously like the sound of the word "preschool" better than "daycare." I never considered there might be a downside to preschool generally (just particular programs).