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.


At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like you, I am a big proponent of parental support. Having worked in a day care for two years and having two nieces in day care at the moment I understand how they can only do so much. A day care can range from hourly to all day, making it difficult to take care of all of the needs the child lacks from home. A pre-school primarily focuses on educational aspects for the child. Both settings require parental support and encouragement to build a well rounded child. It is true that until teachers are payed/valued more their will continue to be a high turnover rate which does impact the children. That is why it is crucial to create and maintain a positive environment for children to learn and succeed both at home and other places. I like how you see the whole picture in every situation and truly see the children's needs.

Andrea Moffat

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this article and I believe there are many parents who would like to become involved in child's education want to know if the teacher needs their assistance or not. So I think the best thing to do as a teacher is "let the parents know if we need any help."

Kyungnam Park (T&L 2330-1)

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a daughter working in this field, and she can attest to the high turnover. I (and she) agree that if teachers are not payed and valued more they will move on. She is amazing with these little ones and loves them dearly, but needs to make a living too so she has to go where she can make the most and get the most support from staff and parents. I also believe parents need to take more responsibility for their children's social skills and manners. They can not possibly all be taught by the schools.

Kelly Cooke

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Connie said...

I am fortunate to be working in a preschool program that has parents as the Board of Directors. They are more understanding of my role as the educator for their children. Each parent participates in the program in one form or another. Each are caring and helpful with their child's education. If there are behavior problems, we work together to find a solution.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too read about the study regarding negative behavior of children in Daycare. In my experience, children act out the minute their parents walk in the door. They are better behaved and well mannered at school than at home. Many times parents comment on how wonderful there children are at school or we tell them that they are great, and they can't believe we're talking about their child. I completely agree that teachers need to be valued more and earn higher wages. As we know, the early years are most crucial in children's development, yet, parking garage attendants make more money.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great article. I agree that the daycare setting should not get such negative feedback from critics. Parents play a huge role in the behavior of children, and educators can only do so much with a child's behavior. Since the children are only at the daycare/pre-school setting for x amount of hours a day before returning to their home environment, this makes it harder to correct behavior and sustain the good behavior.


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