Topics in Early Childhood Education

Monday, March 26, 2007

Preschool Behaviors

Today there was a Washington Post article reprinted in the Salt Lake Tribune, Study: Day Care Can Lead to Bad Behavior. It was very similar to an article that I talked about in the blog last year. Some recent research studies suggest that children in daycare and preschools seem to display more behavior problems, which continue through grade 6. The study quoted in this article suggests that this happens even in quality preschool settings. I was disturbed that the study downplays the fact that children in these settings do display increased language and school preparatory skills. In other words, preschool/daycare settings seem to be accomplishing academic tasks. Critics of the research point to the fact that there were no control groups and the turnover in early childhood settings would naturally contribute to children's behavior issues. I agree that social and emotional strategies are not taught and used effectively in many preschool/daycare settings. I also agree that the parent element is often the one that keeps behavior in check, as mentioned in the study. But, I must agree with the critics of the study and add that until we pay early childhood educators a high enough salary to make them stay, the staff transition rates will always be high. Yes, that would definitely effect children's behavior. Unless parents take on a more active role in their child's behavior, school can only do so much. The researchers should not be so quick to blame all negative behaviors on the preschool setting. More funding and parent responsibility seem to be at issue as much or more than the preschool.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

She's Back!

We have a pet turtle that lives in our pond. When we went to retrieve her for winter hibernation in November, we couldn't find her. We concluded that she had moved on to greener pastures. Imagine our delight in finding "Gertrude" on the edge of our pond this week. The grandchildren are thrilled to know the turtle is back. The minute they hit the door last summer they were in the backyard looking for Gertrude and wanting to feed her. Between the turtle and the chickens, the kids love to come to visit. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great Preschool Programs

I recently visited the Coast Episcopal School in Pass Christian, Mississippi. I was amazed at the preschool program that they provide for 3-5 year-old children. Several benefactors had donated money and helped build an amazing little preschool building. The playground was huge with vegetable gardens (planted by the children) and many engaging equipment experiences. But, the most impressive thing was how developmentally appropriate and wonderful the entire program was organized. The teachers were providing a nurturing, skill-based and hands-on program. It was a joy to watch. I was overcome with the feeling that all preschool children deserve this type of support prior to entering kindergarten. Everyone in early childhood should strive to see this happen. The children at Coast Episcopal School Preschool were full of joy and learning. What a wonderful world!