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Importance of Preschool: Childhood experiences differ by socio-economic class

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This is an excerpt from:

The Early Education Racket

If you are reading this article, your kid probably doesn’t need preschool.

It’s hard to tease out the effects of preschool on a child. Part of the problem is self-selection: Compared with kids who skip preschool, kids who attend usually have more well-to-do, encouraging parents who read and do puzzles with them at home. Children who don’t go to preschool are usually from more disadvantaged families, which means they watch lots of TV and are yelled at more than they are praised, which some researchers believe can stunt cognitive development.

I am not making a Bell Curve argument here; promise. But research suggests that parents who are financially comfortable tend to devote more resources and time to their kids, in part because they can. In work they conducted at the University of Kansas and chronicled in their book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, Betty Hart and Todd Risley recorded, for two-and-a-half years, a full hour of conversation every day between parents and children from 42 American families of differing social classes. Children with professional parents heard about 30 million words by the time they turned 3, compared with 20 million in working-class families and 10 million in welfare families. In addition, the ratio of parental encouragements to reprimands was about 6-to-1 among professional families, 2-to-1 among the working class and 1-to-2 in welfare homes. These different experiences closely tracked with the children’s later academic and intellectual performance, and other studies have since supported these findings.

But what does all this have to do with preschool? Research suggests that preschool only benefits children from these disadvantaged families (in particular, families that are below the poverty line, whose mothers are uneducated, or who are racial minorities). This could be because preschool acts as a kind of “equalizer,” ensuring that for at least a few hours a day, these kids get the same high-quality interaction with adults as more advantaged children do, which helps to even the developmental playing field.

For instance, in a study published last year, University of Texas psychologist Elliot Tucker-Drob assessed a number of different characteristics in a group of more than 600 pairs of twins. He looked at the scores the children got at age 2 on tests of mental ability; whether or not they went to preschool; how “stimulating” their mothers’ interactions were with them; their socio-economic status and race; and finally, how well they scored on reading and math tests at age 5. Because he was comparing what happened to identical twins, who share all of their genes, and fraternal twins, who on average share half (yet both sets typically grow up together), Tucker-Drob could home in on the effects of environment and genetics on the kids’ outcomes.

A hell of a lot of math later, Tucker-Drob reported that the home environments of children who do not attend preschool have a much larger influence on kindergarten academic ability than do the home environments of preschoolers. In other words, a bad home situation becomes a much smaller problem when your kid goes to preschool; when you have a good home environment, preschool doesn’t really matter. (Granted, children from poor families tend to go to lower quality preschools than wealthy kids do, but for them, a bad preschool is usually better than nothing.)

To read in it's entirety:

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by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Replies (31-40):
NNB
by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:19 AM

I worked in one temporarily and saw some horrifble beaviour from children, its horrible

Quoting romalove:


Quoting NNB:

I hate the idea of pre-school. in my oppinion it forces kids into a social surrounding where they are fighting for their place in the pack and it can create self esteem issues, especially if they are bullied from a young age. They are put in a situation they can not walk away from. Sure, this happens at school, but they are older ad better equipped to deal with it.

I've never seen a preschool like that.


Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:22 AM

 bump

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:28 AM


Quoting NNB:

I worked in one temporarily and saw some horrifble beaviour from children, its horrible

Quoting romalove:


Quoting NNB:

I hate the idea of pre-school. in my oppinion it forces kids into a social surrounding where they are fighting for their place in the pack and it can create self esteem issues, especially if they are bullied from a young age. They are put in a situation they can not walk away from. Sure, this happens at school, but they are older ad better equipped to deal with it.

I've never seen a preschool like that.


I don't know what you mean by horrible behavior, or what kind of preschool it was.  In what capacity did you work there?

The preschools I am familiar with have staff that works with the children towards cooperation and working together, getting along, and becoming friends.

I will say that children are children and some of them will and do exhibit horrible behavior.  The teachers are there to guide them and make it stop.

If you were somewhere that wasn't happening the issue was where you were, not in preschool in general.

stormcris
by Christy on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Children who don’t go to preschool are usually from more disadvantaged families, which means they watch lots of TV and are yelled at more than they are praised, which some researchers believe can stunt cognitive development.

Seriously? Have these people never heard of Headstart or are they just choosing to ignore that?

Too much is going on right now in various children, with brain issues increasing, for this article to remotely find a link between where or not a child needs preschool.

SuDoNim
by Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Right, probably kids who were still learning appropriate social behavior... which is one of the goals of preschool.

Quoting NNB:

I worked in one temporarily and saw some horrifble beaviour from children, its horrible

Quoting romalove:


Quoting NNB:

I hate the idea of pre-school. in my oppinion it forces kids into a social surrounding where they are fighting for their place in the pack and it can create self esteem issues, especially if they are bullied from a young age. They are put in a situation they can not walk away from. Sure, this happens at school, but they are older ad better equipped to deal with it.

I've never seen a preschool like that.



Kitschy
by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:35 AM
This is a really interesting article and it makes sense. My kids go to preschool for the social experiences though, and the article doesn't really speak to that. Although I might have missed it. Academically speaking my DD is way beyond the classes curriculum and in some cases I feel it can actually be detrimental.
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EireLass
by Ruby Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:59 AM

I don't agree with pre-school. Obviously my kids didn't go. They both read by the time they were 4. My son read the newspaper. They were very well socialized, didn't need to send them away to get that. We always were surrounded by alot of kids and adults. I homeschooled them for 5 years. When they did go to school, they were ahead of their peers emotionally and intellectually. They both finished high school early, as well as college early. My son finishing college 18 months ahead of their schedule. They both have excellent careers. They have been sought out by companies that hired them, they didn't have to apply.

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Early childhood experiences are important, regardless of the setting in which children are cared for. Opportunities for sensorimotor learning and positive adult-child interactions are what children need to reach their full potential.

Children who receive high quality care thrive whether it's provided by a parent or a caregiver. Preschools and child care centers that provide high quality care and education have a staff of adults who are early childhood professionals who participate in continuing education to learn standards of best practice based on the latest brain development research...many parents have no formal education about physical & brain development and their access to information is limited.

mommygiggles317
by Bronze Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM


Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting mommygiggles317:

I call BULLSHIT!!! This article is wrong on so many levels it's sad... smdh

Let me put it another way for you:


Kids benefit from having adults talk to them.

When a kid is at preschool, adults talk to the kid.

If, when a kid is at home, adults also talk to the kid, then sending the kid to preschool won't increase how much the kid gets talked to.

If, when a kid is at home, the adults tend to stick the kid in front of the TV set and ignore them, then sending the kid to preschool will increase how much the kid gets talked to.


Make sense now?

Trust me... I understand what this article is saying. I also understand the reason why articles like this get published... do you?... Like I said... I call bullshit... 

love you signExercising Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding...

TerriAnne2606
by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

I'm interested to learn why you think this.


Quoting mommygiggles317:

I call BULLSHIT!!! This article is wrong on so many levels it's sad... smdh



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