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Does Preschool Matter? - Comments

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 1 by Alan4discussion

In the modern urban world of cramped living space and lack of safe play areas in cities, pre-school play-groups, toddler-groups, and part-time nurseries provide lots of social experience along with a wider range of toys and materials to share with friends. It also helps participating parents to swap notes on parenting skills and ideas.

In an age where there are many only children, the need is much greater than when extended families lived close together in villages where aunts, cousins, grand-parents etc were easily accessible to help give parents a break and widen the social experience of children. High-rise flats are probably one of the worst environments for children.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:51:31 UTC | #924863

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 2 by aroundtown

I think until the greed factor of humanity, that has choked the world to a gasping point, is confronted I believe we will continue to struggle with inequality issues on many fronts. Pre-school is clearly advantageous as this occurs during our most malleable period in brain development as children. I would love to see education issues at all levels as basic rights within our societies but unfortunately the cost factor always rears it's ugly head. We need to get past the talking about it phase and get into the taking action phase or we will continue to deprive ourselves of a populace that is mentally healthy and productive.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:42:51 UTC | #924875

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 3 by Carl Sai Baba

Only being arrested 5 times is below the fold?

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 17:14:40 UTC | #924882

peter mayhew's Avatar Comment 4 by peter mayhew

Unfortunately, religious institutions understood the maleability of young minds centuries ago. Why are most of the CofE schools primary schools?

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 17:43:31 UTC | #924892

Universeman's Avatar Comment 5 by Universeman

This effect was clearly demonstrated by the standardized test data, as Tucker-Drob looked at changes in scores correlated with preschool. Not surprisingly, he found that preschool significantly closed the achievement gap between rich and poor kids. However, this winnowing of the gap was entirely due to the raised scores among those from disadvantaged homes. In fact, Tucker-Drob found that children raised in wealthier homes got no benefit at all from pre-k education, as their test scores remained flat.

This is exactly why I have changed my major to sociology, this is absolutely staggering to me, I mean preschool, really? That the solution to the disparity between socioeconomic classes needs to occur prior to the age of five, this is a no brainer folks; to do nothing as a society to fix this would be beyond criminal. With our current education system the socioeconomically disadvantaged in our society don't even have a shot at success in life.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 19:01:49 UTC | #924916

zengardener's Avatar Comment 6 by zengardener

The results from this study emphasize one of the problems that I have with libertarianism. It breaks down after one generation.

So much of the child's future rests on the decisions and circumstance of the parent.

So much for personal responsibility.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 20:50:34 UTC | #924956

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 7 by Michael Gray

I get an uneasy feeling when they claim that they measured the IQs of 3 year olds to single-digit precision.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 21:05:36 UTC | #924962

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 8 by alaskansee

Yippee I just finished designing a preschool!

Saving marriages and prisons for generations to come! I hope this trickles down/up to the politicians who are always looking for reasons to cut education spending.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 21:42:02 UTC | #924975

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 9 by Reckless Monkey

Excellent article,

I would point out though that as this data was necessarily taken over a long period of time (at least the initial study) it doesn't necessarily count for how things are now. In recent years there has been a push to make pre-school a little year one and this is trickling down to put more and more academic pressure on what the little tykes are expected to do and ridiculous performance targets etc. We are in real danger of turning our children into little robots and tossing the baby described out with the bath water. Of course as noted in the article this won't likely harm the kids of wealthy parents (hell it might even widen the gap), it will likely effect the ones most likely to benefit.

Tue, 06 Mar 2012 21:53:48 UTC | #924977

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 10 by Alternative Carpark

As someone who i currently spending the equivalent of 9,000 GBP / 14,800 USD a year to send his 5-year old to a so-called "international school", this is slightly comforting, I suppose. My only fear is that I will have run out of money, or rather the energy and/or opportunity to make it, by the time he enters secondary education. University he will have to worry about himself....

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 02:39:28 UTC | #925041

raam's Avatar Comment 11 by raam

Oh what a coincidence! I was just filling out applications today for my daughter's pre-school, after spending months agonizing over what sort of pre-school to send her to. Now I'm told that it really doesn't matter that much, so that's a relief.

Still, I am wondering whether the approach to teaching makes a difference in the long run. For example, are Montessori pre-schools better than conventional ones in any way? And do differences in pedagogical approach add up to much in the long run?

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 05:31:41 UTC | #925062

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 12 by Helga Vieirch

This is in keeping with the findings of numerous other studies. The best and most striking of the recently written essays on this is The Two Year Window, published this year in the New Republic. But there are almost too many other reports that are all tending in the same direction - the human child's brain is very plastic but there are limits to its resiliency if given a rocky start in life. Those first few years matter enormously. – DNA ‘remembers’ early living conditions

Benefits of high quality child care persist 30 years later: research

Long-term poverty but not family instability affects children's cognitive development

Poverty can physically impair brain, reducing children's ability to learn

Breastfeeding may improve children's intelligence scores

Foster care associated with improved growth, intelligence compared to orphanage care

Mental stimulation helps raise IQ scores

Disadvantaged neighborhoods set children's reading skills on negative course

Children's brain development is linked to physical fitness

Practice builds brain connections for babies learning language, how to speak

Children under 3 can't learn action words from TV -- unless an adult helps

Children living in areas where homicides committed have lower reading, verbal test scores

Childhood stress such as abuse or emotional neglect can result in structural brain changes

Brain Dopamine Receptor Density Correlates with Social Status

Violent Video Games Affect Boys' Biological Systems, Study Finds

Children Can Inherit Mom's Abuse-Altered Brain : Discovery News

and even Researchers find mice cages alter brains

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 05:51:46 UTC | #925064

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 13 by aquilacane

Elizabeth has done well with exposure to other kids as well as the method of teaching they do at our preschool/daycare. Her French has gone to shit because she doesn't have her mother talking to her all day but she's speaking light years ahead of the other kids and starting to write words. Her drawing looks a lot like mine.

She's a little over two and a half and turning out to be pretty bright and damn well better for $1200 a month. It's not paid for in Ontario, need Quebec for that. Last week, she informed me that everything ends. Everything? Everything! I found it a grownup conclusion from a dolphin movie.

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 06:05:47 UTC | #925065

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 14 by Alan4discussion

Comment 13 by aquilacane

As well as professional day-care. some of the systems I mentioned @1 are do-it-yourself versions.

Play and toddler groups are club like arrangements for groups of parents and their preschool children to meet, sometimes in an educational play room, or at a soft play area. Spin-offs from these can be sub-groups of friends, meeting in each other's homes, gardens, or in parks where children can play together in safe areas under the watchful eye of parents. In the summer outdoor sand-boxes or paddling-pools can be a focus on a grassed or paved area.

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 10:09:58 UTC | #925088

friendlypig's Avatar Comment 15 by friendlypig

Re comment 12 by Helga and her first link to

This can't be correct simply because the egg from which I was fertilised was created by my grandparents and carried by my mother from her conception. My mother had no input whatsoever until fertilisation.

And, considering that my grandmother was born in 1878 it does raise several questions, including, is it nature, nurture or pre-school?

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:21:30 UTC | #925145

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 16 by Helga Vieirch

Comment 15 by friendlypig

And, er, what about that sperm, now?

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 17:06:15 UTC | #925171

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 17 by Sci Fi

Apparently, it matters a lot to Rick Santorum...

Thu, 08 Mar 2012 05:12:20 UTC | #925278

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 18 by Alan4discussion

Comment 17 by Sci Fi- Apparently, it matters a lot to Rick Santorum...

“It is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children. It is not the government’s job. We have sort of lost focus here a little bit. Of course, the government wants their hands on your children as fast as they can. That is why I opposed all these early starts and pre-early starts, and early-early starts. They want your children from the womb so they can indoctrinate your children as to what they want them to be. I am against that.”

Ooooooh! Education - A very serious threat to the election campaign of a really thick ignorant candidate and his bigoted supporters and sponsors!

..... .. so they can indoctrinate your children as to what they want them to be.

Can't have an educated electorate recognising the reversed projected image of religinut bigotry! Elect monkeys & live in the jungle! - (apologies to monkeys)

America is already on the slippery slope to wooist degenerate ignorance!

Thu, 08 Mar 2012 09:35:38 UTC | #925319

Sci Fi's Avatar Comment 19 by Sci Fi

Alan4discussion -

Yeah; when I read it I had some physical reactions - as follows...


-palmdrag (where the palm on the face drags down the physiognomy, distorting the features)


I then picked up my guitar, wacked the volume up to 11 and slammed some powerchords to clear my head. I recommend this to all as a cure. Far more effective than homeopathy etc.

As for this:

"Can't have an educated electorate recognising the reversed projected image of religinut bigotry! Elect monkeys & live in the jungle! - (apologies to monkeys)"

Many a true word spoken in jest, my friend.

Interesting that the Catholic, Santorum, has such Lutheran sympathies!

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 05:36:58 UTC | #925549

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 20 by Alan4discussion

Comment 19 by Sci Fi

Interesting that the Catholic, Santorum, has such Lutheran sympathies!

The Lutheran-Catholic thing has been done by right-wing politicians before - complete with "special" less academic schooling for children, youth and potential popes!

Comment 12 by Tiende Landeplage - In this version, the book's author is added to the cover - "Hit-Luther"!

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 09:57:38 UTC | #925579