Sunday, October 4, 2009

Preschool or not?

Gosh and just when i'm wondering if i should send Eliza to pre-school....

Read this article which was from a link from someone's blog on the Dark Side of Preschool & Preschool Social Skills

"We find that attendance in preschool centers, even for short periods of time each week, hinders the rate at which young children develop social skills and display the motivation to engage classroom tasks, as reported by their kindergarten teachers” (Loeb et al 2005).

We might guess that the problem lies with poor quality preschool centers. But even high income children—-who presumably attend the better preschools—-showed increased behavioral problems if they had attended at least 15 hours a week (Loeb et al 2005). Moreover, the effect is dosage-dependent. The more time children spend in centers, the worse their behavior becomes.

Researchers found that the more time kids spent in non-maternal care during the first 4.5 years of life, the more behavioral problems they developed.

Consider the findings from the Stanford / University of California study. Kids who received non-parental care outside of childcare centers (for example, those cared for by grandparents or nannies) did NOT suffer increased social problems. According to this study, it wasn’t necessarily being away from parents that made kids misbehave. It was spending many hours in group care with peers (Loeb et al 2005).

Other evidence suggests that spending time at preschool-—or daycare-—is downright stressful.

For instance, it’s not about being separated from parents. Kids who receive home-based care do not have elevated cortisol levels, even when their parents are absent (Dettling et al 2000). Nor is it about differences in daytime resting. Kids in group-based childcare show more stress even after taking into account any possible differences in napping or resting opportunities during the day (Watamura et al 2002).

Many researchers suspect the culprit is social stress—-in particular, dealing with peers. Megan Gunnar, a University of Minnesota psychobiologist who has studied cortisol levels in preschoolers since the 1990s, agrees. “There is something about managing a complex peer setting for an extended time that triggers stress in young children” Gunnar (ResearchWorks 2005).

In fact, part of this reasoning is sound. You do need people to learn people skills. The question is--which people? Preschoolers need to learn empathy, compassion, patience, emotional self-control, social etiquette, patience, and an upbeat, constructive attitude for dealing with social problems.

These lessons can’t be learned through peer contact alone. Preschools are populated with impulsive, socially incompetent little people who are prone to sudden fits of rage or despair. These little guys have difficulty controlling their emotions, and they are ignorant of the social niceties. They have poor insight into the minds and emotions of others (Gopnik et al 1999).

Moreover, it’s hard to see what’s natural about herding together a bunch of children who are all the same age. From the evolutionary, historical, and cross-cultural perspectives, it’s an unusual practice."

This was what Ww was saying from the beginning about the advantages of homeschooling. Kids need to learn from adults more than to learn from peers. I guess, it's just not going to school/daycare too early? I do sense Eliza watching other kids and what they do...sometimes i wonder if she'll learn from them good/bad or be able to filter out the right stuffs (unlikely huh?). I know personality will play a part, and Eliza being the generous, sharing & non-confrontational toddler, she's gonna be super stuck to me when there's another toddler she's feels threatened with.

1 comment:

Jaclyn said...

It really depends on the school environment (doesn't mean more expensive will be better) I'm a strong advocate of home schooling and I've always wanted to homeschool Joash but after putting him in school (It was supposed to be temporary cos I was in my third trimester back then) I realised he flourished quite amazingly. Thus, I am keeping him in school even though I've already given birth. I intend to home-school Jayna unless she turns out to be like her brother.

You can put her in and observe her behaviour and evaluate after a few months. They are still young enough to be corrected if you pull her out by then. But before you start, you need to do a lot of homework choosing the right place for her. :) If you want, I can email you the guidelines I gave my friend regarding preschool.