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

Child School Academics

Anna Hunt, Staff
Waking Times

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.”

A growing group of educators and parents in the U.S. is becoming increasingly frustrated by the Common Core education programs and too much focus on academics and standardized testing. Some believe that the initiative is actually dumbing down children, leaving students unprepared to do college level work and putting pressure on colleges to lower their academic standards.

“Common Core pretended that it was going to be raising standards, but what it did, in fact, is put enormous pressure on colleges, many of which are now succumbing to that pressure, to lower their standards.” ~ Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars

Kindergartens in the U.S. are also subject to Common Core guidelines, creating more emphasis on “seat work” and relying on tightly scripted teaching and direct instruction. The effect may be higher literacy and math competencies at an early age, but these initiative are also making children less inquisitive, less creative, less individualized, less confident, and less engaged in the long-term.

Another study out of Vanderbilt University took a look at how academically driven pre-schoolers, who participated in the Voluntary Pre-kindergarten program called TN‐VPK, compared to a control group of children that had gone through a more traditional pre-school. The study revealed that by end of kindergarten, there were no longer any significant differences between the children from both groups. Over the following two years, the differences between the two groups became more noticeable:

“First grade teachers rated the TN-VPK children as less well prepared for school, having poorer work skills in the classrooms, and feeling more negative about school.”

“In second grade, however, the groups began to diverge with the TN-VPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests.”

(Study: A Randomized Control Trial of a Statewide Voluntary Prekindergarten Program on Children’s Skills and Behaviors through Third Grade)

A more intense focus on academics at an early age, repetitive teaching methods, and subjugation of children to the same insipid tasks year after year is killing their enthusiasm for learning. Too wrapped up in the hyper-competitive world, parents and educators are allowing for an environment that is putting undue stress and pressure on youngsters. According to Yale professor Edward Zigler, a leader in child-development and early education policy, what young children really need is more opportunities to use and hear complex language and a curriculum that includes social and emotional skills and active learning.

Read more articles from Anna Hunt.

About the Author

Anna Hunt is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She and her husband run a preparedness e-store outlet at www.offgridoutpost.com, offering GMO-free storable food and emergency kits. Anna is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Read more of her excellent articles here. Visit her essential oils store here.

Sources:

http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/20_Bassok_Is_Kindergarten_The_New_First_Grade.pdf
http://peabody.vanderbilt.edu/research/pri/VPKthrough3rd_final_withcover.pdf
http://www.wakingtimes.com/2016/03/10/renowned-scholar-warns-common-core-education-dumbing-down-kids/
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-new-preschool-is-crushing-kids/419139/

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This article (The New Preschool System is Crushing Kids and Making Them Hate Learning) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Anna Hunt and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. Please contact WakingTimes@gmail.com for more info. 

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  • Meenakshi Arora

    very nice article.shown through this list wise superb.plz visit mother’s Pride school in delhi

  • Moonchalk

    I’ve noticed a trend in leftist controlled (tyrannical government) to try an force toddlers into state run “schools”. Very insane but typical liberal behavior. Children this young are not ready to be shoved into classrooms.

    • Micheal Walsh

      Seriously? this smacks of a ‘liberal’ agenda to you? Good job on being indoctrinated. You’ve learned to look at fellow humans as enemies… your corporate rulers would be proud…if they cared about new-age sharecroppers… go vote for Trump. Watch the world burn.

      This is about endemic de-humanization. This is your kids having humanity slowly and piecemeal removed from them. This isn’t something as simple as taxes, guns, and abortion. Grow the heck up.

      • Moonchalk

        NO MORON. I’ve just watched and FOUGHT those types of legislative proposals being created and pushed by liberal pols for the last 40 years. Now get off of your parents computer you child.

  • BDBinc

    Not its not making them hate learning, as education is just memorizing information.
    And now testing little kids sorting them int ” failures” and success= conditioned obedience.
    Its making them hate reciting the material they are forced to remember without understanding. Their attention is so short( TV, over-stimulus ,poor parental attention) no wonder little kids find it painful .

  • Yannick Erst

    Common Core is the next step in dumbing down American kids. Read Crimes of the Educators to get the whole story–these evil freaks are deliberately destroying literacy and education!

  • Lord of the Gulf Stream

    Homeschooling is the only solution. Soon it will be illegal.

    • AnotherLover

      May as well be illegal since any cert you get from it will be tied to common core idiocy. We have to replace the whole system from the ground up… somehow.

    • Arrow

      Illegal perhaps, but not unlawful.

    • L Garou

      There’s always the apple tree to sit under..

  • jw

    My God, these barbarians are out to destroy childhood.

  • I like a story where most of the body copy is contained in the headline. Where the punch-line is so in-your-face, you feel like an assailant has just hit you over the head and dragged you down a hillside, under the trees. An ‘education’ system that is as transparent as the Panama Papers, implicating the same contentious ‘villains’ over and over without ever mentioning the puppeteers hanging from the willow trees. Those nefarious “Evil Dictators” who had previously received 20+ years of CIA payroll receipts…

    This year everybody is talking about “saving our schools systems.’ All I need say at this point is this: “If you love somebody, -really love somebody,..??”
    …. Set them frickin’ FREE!!

  • AnotherLover

    “A more intense focus on academics at an early age, repetitive
    teaching methods, and subjugation of children to the same insipid tasks
    year after year is killing their enthusiasm for learning.”

    Sounds like it’s working. A person with a love of learning and a sense of independence is an unstoppable force. A person that hates learning and relies on authority is more prone to becoming a state-dependent consumer. That is the goal of common core.

  • John

    “Set out the books,” the Director said curtly.

    In silence the nurses obeyed his command. Between the rose bowls the books
    were duly set out–a row of nursery quartos opened invitingly each at some
    gaily coloured image of beast or fish or bird.

    “Now bring in the children.”

    They hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two, each pushing
    a kind of tall dumb-waiter laden, on all its four wire-netted shelves, with
    eight-month-old babies, all exactly alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident)
    and all (since their caste was Delta) dressed in khaki.

    “Put them down on the floor.”

    The infants were unloaded.

    “Now turn them so that they can see the flowers and books.”

    Turned, the babies at once fell silent, then began to crawl towards those
    clusters of sleek colours, those shapes so gay and brilliant on the white
    pages. As they approached, the sun came out of a momentary eclipse behind a
    cloud. The roses flamed up as though with a sudden passion from within; a new
    and profound significance seemed to suffuse the shining pages of the books.
    From the ranks of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement,
    gurgles and twitterings of pleasure.

    The Director rubbed his hands. “Excellent!” he said. “It might almost have
    been done on purpose.”

    The swiftest crawlers were already at their goal. Small hands reached out
    uncertainly, touched, grasped, unpetaling the transfigured roses, crumpling
    the illuminated pages of the books. The Director waited until all were happily
    busy. Then, “Watch carefully,” he said. And, lifting his hand, he gave the
    signal. The Head Nurse, who was standing by a switchboard at the other end of the
    room, pressed down a little lever.There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded. The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.

    “And now,” the Director shouted (for the noise was deafening), “now we
    proceed to rub in the lesson with a mild electric shock.”…

    — Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World”, 1932 (online at huxley dot net)

    • Incubator babies. I like it. Kinda goes with those stunt puppies they used to feature on the original SNL.

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