Recently our esteemed director of the National Department of Education admitted, following a conference in Europe about Early Education, that he was approached by many concerned persons who asked him why we seem to disregard really caring about our young children in America – and he agreed.
We appreciate your humility. But …
…This begs us to ask him, “what are you going to do about it”? Is your phantom committee of experts still pretending to collaborate on researching “what works” for Early Education?
Let’s review some simple principles that have long been established and accepted by society, as well as Neuroscience. Preschool is the “foundation for everything in life”. So let’s start acting and believing as though it has a profound affect on everything we do in life, particularly, how we achieve, innovate and work as competent adults. Is it so hard to see the correlations between how Europeans treat their very young children and how much better they tend to do in academic settings and tests?
You keep looking at the academic achievements of students in Finland, but yet you refuse to make this information transparent to Americans, or embark on any strategies to implement similar standards in our own education system. For instance, Finnish preschool children get to spend their entire preschool stage with the same teacher. Also, they are learning about the basics of everything through the means of natural knowledge and natural science. Creativity is paramount. Why do we keep insisting in America that academic achievement can be mastered through the strict learning, execution and perfection of writing, understanding and reciting the “a,b,c’s and 1,2,3’s” ???
If these supposed basic properties of knowledge were so valuable to the preschool brain – or served as the basis for innovative development – or prepared children for academic excellence — then why do our American children keep sliding down the scale of academic achievement — if preschool is indeed the foundation for EVERYTHING ?
What have you done for them lately?
It seems as though “High-quality-Preschool” is defined by what conveniences it serves for full-time working parents – – who can hardly be blamed for subscribing to this version of high-quality preschool, when the value of a preschool parent is so undermined, underestimated and undervalued in this country. Parents have to make a living. Many European countries literally pay their parent-citizens of young children to stay at home and raise their children. This makes sense because a young child’s best teacher is his or her own parent.
Unfortunately too, here in the States, parents are poorly informed about early child development — in essence, understanding that child development is one in the same as child brain development. Strategies and methods and philosophies about “parenting” have run amok with hardly any modifications about what early brain development actually is. Human brain development is Emotional brain development, and the human brain develops during the childhood years. Therefore developing a child’s brain has to do with intelligently developing their emotions as the seeds of their abilities and creative learning potential. The paradigm we need here is to change the definition of raising children from “parenting” to “childing”.
Yes, new words and terms feel awkward, but new words and their definitions give us new knowledge, information and perspectives about altering what we profess to improve. How do we proclaim to be intent on improving our adult brains and making the best of our neuroplastic abilities if its only to do numbers and puzzles faster or better, but fails to include the most important aspect of our lives – our society – our nation — our children?
Get with the program Arne — do your job. Stop succumbing to the pressure of parents telling you what they want from early education and start handing out information about what early brain development really entails — that is of course, if you actually know what that is. Parents’ intentions are good, but it is your job to be the intelligent informer. Yep, it’s a monumental task that requires a lot of reconfiguring, will undoubtedly draw friction, and oh, let’s never forget, will need funds because everything seems to be about money even though the rules of appropriate brain development have very little to do with the rules of the money game.
The clock is ticking ! Before you know it, today’s preschoolers will be 25 years old and we’ll be bemused and bewildered about our leadership roles in innovation. You want innovation back in American society? — Lose the literacy and numeracy requirements and replace them with Creative Learning. Stop acting like it’s rocket science. But if you make this change, you’ll have more rocket scientists and STEM professionals than you’ll know what to do with, unless of course, you create programs for them to work in when these youngsters are ready to wor