In his State of the Union address Mr. Obama announced that he wanted Federal required pre-school training for children. I’m against it for more reasons than I can list here. I worked in a Head Start program when I was in college and it was not the “learning” facility it claimed to be. Most of the workers were not qualified and spent more time talking to each other than teaching the children. Because it lacked “professional training” and “proper funding”, it was a dirty hole in the wall that allowed the children to run wild and only “suggested” it was a learning facility because there were books on the shelves. We weren’t allowed to “teach” because that might make some of the kids feel bad. I was reduced to wiping noses, sweeping floors and once a day reading a “Golden Book” story before nap-time.
Perhaps there were other Head Start programs across the country that actually did their jobs. As part of my college requirement, I had the opportunity to see the funding and to understand how they selected workers. In my report to my professor, I gave a long list of reasons to support my belief that the program was useless. I also suggested that the only way it should continue would be to rename it – Free Babysitting for low income families. There’s no way I would put a child of mine in that environment.
I do agree with quality pre-school training. I believe the best pre-school training is the loving one on one moms provide when they stay home with their child. However, there are some good professional pre-schools as well. Just make sure your child is getting a well-rounded education. Most Professional pre-schools refuse to teach values or discipline. This can be difficult for children who live in value based well disciplined homes. It can produce conflict within the child when there are different rules for home that aren’t present in the unfair undisciplined pre-school. Some pre-schools have decided to return to value based environments. I personally think your child will receive better care in a church run pre-school.
Knowing that the stay at home mom needs help, we asked Amie Williams to provide you with “creative solutions” to teach your child necessary goals. Please check the category – “Creative Solutions with Amie” to see all her posts.
The following is a reprinted post from an old blog.
Home pre-schooling – a choice for better grades
Every parent wants their child to be successful in school. It’s a normal leap then to think that your preschooler needs more training than you can give them. The best training may not be preschool. The best training may be a verbal mom and dad who plays with their child.
Think about what your child will need to succeed in school and couple that with all the findings about unsuccessful children. Most new studies have found 3 things that hamper a child’s ability to succeed in school.
1. School demands verbal skills. Your child must be able to talk easily with others. He must communicate his thoughts to the teacher and often to other students. Eventually he will have to translate those thoughts to paper. Being able to hold a conversation, to reason and to support his idea is paramount to success in English, math and socialization.
What better way to prepare him than to make your home a verbal challenge. To keep me on the forefront of child care and to remind me of the days when my home was full of children – Every Friday I care for a 14 month old for a teacher friend of mine. “Punkin” (don’t want to use real name on Internet) arrived this morning and after a little play time we had a snack of toast and juice. It reminded me of how much I talk to children. I pointed to everything in the room and gave it a name. We played “my name – your name”. Every time he picked up a cut square of bread, I said the word “toast”. When he chewed I remarked, “Yum, good chewing.” When he sipped his juice I smiled and said, “Yum good juice”. When he offered me a piece of toast, I said, “thank you.”
Talk, talk, talk. Even when he was done, I continued to talk about what I was doing. “Let’s put the dishes away shall we? Can you find your truck? Debbie’s making bubbles. Do you like bubbles?” My little shadow and I were having long conversations even if he couldn’t respond. He smiled, he giggled, he touched the bubbles. HE WAS LEARNING. He was learning how to have a conversation, how to be interactive and more importantly – he was putting a label on his world. He was learning words and their meaning even before he can say those words.
2. Today’s children have low scores in Reading/English and math. Children need to learn how to reason so they can accomplish problem solving in math and see connections in stories and society. When I tell “Punkin”, let’s move your toddler chair over here so we don’t trip over it…I’m teaching him to prepare. I’m also teaching him to see a problem before it becomes a problem which will in turn help him to be a good problem solver. When we stop the day to dance to classical music, I’m providing mathematical imprints in the brain. When I make up a story using “Punkin” as the main character, I’m encouraging the love of reading and the desire to hear stories.
3. Children can’t study properly when they aren’t accepted socially. Helping your child to understand the process of conversations and how to converse with others will ultimately help him make friends at school. Teaching your child to make friends can be extremely valuable when he interacts with his teacher, the assistant and other students. “Punkin, I love your hugs. Punkin, thank you for the toy. Punkin, can you help Debbie put this away? Yeah Punkin!….you did it!
Unfortunately, sometimes (not always) when children are placed in preschool, they learn their letters, their numbers and listen to wonderful stories….but that individual care, that barrage of language and training doesn’t happen. It’s not that teachers aren’t doing their job…they are. It’s simple mathematics. A teacher and assistant can’t give your child the one on one training when there are also 10 other children in the room. I’m not saying you have to be a stay at home mom…but I am asking you to look at what your child needs to succeed. If your child is happy in preschool – great! Just be sure when he comes home that you are a language machine, teaching him the extra lessons that will help him be his best in school.