August 8, 2011

The Truth about Preschool: A Must-Read for Parents of Young Children

A friend on Facebook shared this article - The Truth about Preschool - today.

I am not prone to sharing internet articles through this blog. But I resonate so strongly with the author's words that I feel I could have written them myself - and, in fact, I have said these very same things in different ways to many young moms over the past several years. So I felt it well worth sharing, especially since I know that a good many of my readers are currently parenting young children.

If you are home raising your own little ones, please take these words to heart. You absolutely do not have to create a "mini-kindergarten" for your preschooler...and our society has sold you a bill of goods if you've come to believe that's necessary for healthy child development. In fact, quite the opposite is true - kids now are much more stressed out than previous generations ever were...and pressured kids shut down cognitively - in large measure because they're being forced into developmentally inappropriate "academic preschool" settings even in their own homes. Instead, you can - and should - let your little ones be little...and simply enable and empower them to learn through living as this article describes.

If you don't home-educate even in the early years, I urge you - at the very least - to insure that your child is in a daycare environment that promotes the kind of "osmosis learning" the author of this article discusses. And run (fast and far!) from any sort of "formal preschool" matter how much pressure you receive from "well-meaning" relatives and no matter how many of your friends subject their children to such environments. Honestly and truly, you will do your child much ultimate harm by expecting him to function as a six- or seven-year old when he's three or four - but, on the other hand, if you place him in an environment where he can learn by "just" living, he will thrive in his early years and all through his life.

I am passionate about this because I have lived it. I have raised my own daughters through the preschool years - they are nine and 10 now. And I have cared for upwards of a dozen other young children in my home since my daughters were toddlers. So I have seen this type of learning in action for a good many years with many children...and I made the mistake of trying to get overly academic with my older daughter too soon.

I did not watch for her readiness cues but, rather, barreled ahead with formal academics simply because that's what I thought I ought to do. Thankfully, our relationship was not ultimately harmed in the process - though it very well could have been. But, tragically, my daughter was extremely stressed by being forced into learning tasks for which she was not ready, and I am convinced that some of her early struggles came as a result of my pushing her when I should not have.

Now, God got hold of me and enabled me to rectify the situation as well as I could before too much time had gone by - and I have operated under the general precepts this article outlines ever since. But it breaks my heart to know that I damaged my daughter's spirit and paralyzed her natural learning process at least for a while - all because I followed the wrong-headed ideas of our misguided society instead of what was right in terms of how God has wired young children since the beginning of time.

Don't make my mistake; follow the guidelines in this article instead.


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