Friday, January 15th, 2021

The New Preschool System is Crushing Kids and Making Them Hate Learning

Published on April 11, 2016 by   ·   No Comments


Anna Hunt

According to a new study out of the University of Virginia, academic pressures of the United States (U.S.) educational initiatives, such as No Child Left Behind, and Common Core, have transformed kindergarten away from the much-needed focus on early social skills, play-based learning and other creative activities, into a rigid, taxing environment with far too much attention placed on academics and direct instruction.

The study’s researchers, Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham and Anna Rorem, compared kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010 using two large nationally representative datasets. The aspects analyzed included teachers’ expectations, time spent on academic versus non-academic content, classroom organization, and standardized testing. Their assessment revealed that the experience in kindergarten has changed dramatically:

“Kindergarten teachers in the later period held far higher academic expectations for children both prior to kindergarten entry and during the kindergarten year. They devote more time to advanced literacy and math content, teacher-directed instruction and assessment, and substantially less time to art, music, science and child-selected activities.” (Study: Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?)

The study by Bassok et al. uncovered that kindergarten literacy rates increased from 30% in 1998 to 80% in 2010. Of course, it is a beautiful thing when a child learns to read, but are American children being driven to their detriment? The researchers think so. They concluded that kindergarten, which used to be a gentle way to help introduce children to school, now serves more as a gatekeeper, which indoctrinates children into the pressured life of a student.

Young children, even in preschool, are expected to sit at desks for longer and longer periods and use pencil and paper, even though many of them lack the attention span or motor skills to be successful. Failure even at this young age can earn children the label ‘attention deficit disorder’, and even in some cases can be held back, having to spend an extra year in kindergarten.

This undue accountability and pressure placed on children as young as 5 and 6 years old is making them frightened of making mistakes and of being wrong.This limits their future willingness to be creative and come up with original ideas because they may not the “right.”

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