Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I'm writing an article for trackmyfoodstorage about how to set up successful play dates for preschool aged children. As part of my research I wanted to learn a little about how play dates might help preschoolers develop social skills. It seems to make sense that when kids play with other kids, they would have more opportunity to learn how to do things like take turns, cooperate and communicate.

My google search lead me to this article that I had to force myself to read because I sensed it contained information that would make me have to admit a few things I didn't want to. The real knife in the back was the following paragraph:

"Preschool, ultimately, is for parents, not kids. If preschool didn’t exist, who would lose out? Parents. Because parents would 1) have less time for themselves. 2) Be responsible for providing a rich learning environment 3) Have to be a parent full-time and not be much else. Kids, they would be just fine without preschool. They were before preschool existed, and they would be today. But parents, it would be very hard for them to give up preschool. That’s why it’s so popular. Although, this reality is hidden behind the “it’s good for kids” argument, which really has no real weight, except that’s what everyone wants to believe."

I then found this article on the same search that continued to rock my world. I skimmed it in hopes that I could remain blissfully ignorant about this latest research (from UC Berkeley and Stanford, no less) that indicates preschool actually damages children's social skills and emotional development.

It's always a shock to learn that you've been lied to, but I feel even worse now that I realize I've been lying to myself! I didn't know I had it in me. I will most likely need a big dose of chocolate to get over this betrayal!

Meanwhile, what kind of implications does this research have for play dates? Should I even bother writing the article now? What about the friend that Isaac has over this morning? Should I call his mom and have her come pick him up?

I'm so confused.


Angela Hunter said...

I would have to disagree. While it is true that preschool allows for parents to have more time for themselves, couldn't one agrue the same for school? Maybe school is damaging to our children's social and emotional development. Why is the age of 5 the magical age where sending your children away is suddenly okay? Woulc a 3 or 4 year old child be better off at home if the parents were completely incapable of providing an educational environment or would they be better suited at preschool?

I am 100% in favor of preschool because as a parent, the time away helps me refocus and be a better mom to Calvin.

Afton said...

The first article is written by a deschooler and after looking through a few other of her postings on her blog, I figured she feels that going to pre-school or school at any age IS damaging to a child's emotional and social development.

The Stanford article seemed to focus more on babies and children 6 months of age and up who are put in full day "pre-school" and day care. Studies have shown that children who are in full time day care/ pre-school starting at a young age will demonstrate more aggressive social behavior like hitting other children, etc.

As usual, I'm taking a stance somewhere in the middle. Create a rich learning envrionment at home and supplement with different opportunities like trips to the zoo, friends houses, and a few hours of pre-school until they enter school.