Ask Reading Kingdom: What do you think about the expansion of Preschool Programs?

happy-preschool-girl

Preschool expansion programs are a hot topic, generating strong points of view.

Luann (Parent) asks:

What is your opinion regarding expansion of pre-K Programs?

Reading Kingdom founder, Dr. Marion Blank answers:

Despite the media hype about the problems plaguing our schools, education in our society is held in high esteem. It is almost taken as a “given,” that “the more, the better” and “the earlier, the better.” Whether or not the expansion of pre-K programs will be effective depends, of course, on what actually happens in those programs.

Currently, one of the dominant themes is the idea that the pre-K will get the child ready for the primary grades. That, in turn, leads to a curriculum where young children face demands very similar to those they will encounter later on (e.g., learning letters and sounds, learning numbers, etc.) The end result is highly restricted, somewhat dreary content that does little to enliven children’s minds and enhance their potential.

This is not the only route to take. One of the great aspects of early development is the “openness” of young minds to an incredibly diverse range of material encompassing music, art, movement, dance, studies of the natural world (“science”) and so on. The importance of developing the children’s learning in these areas is vital– and it has become even more vital in the current hi-tech era where from infancy on, children spend hours a day with devices that, although powerful, concentrate on a narrow range of skills. In this situation, pre-K could become an invaluable resource for offering opportunities that enable the human mind to flourish. If it does this, the benefits for the children, their families and society are immense. Conversely, if pre-K merely serves as a pale reflection of the curriculum currently dominating the primary grades, it is likely to have unforeseen negative consequences.

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