Just like Pip and Estella have great expectations, so, too, do parents of young children. But unlike the famous Dickens characters, those expectations may not result in future benefits.
The rise of products such as Baby Einstein videos, books and toys show that the pressure for parents to produce future Rhodes
Scholars is as high as it has ever been. But the race to educate children may be doing more harm than good.
Take a University of Manitoba study that suggests full-day kindergarten makes no difference over the long-term to children with lower literacy skills.
The research, which will be published soon, shows the earlier gap with other children
returned later. Marni Brownell, senior scientist at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, said the reappearing gap could be attributed to parents not reinforcing literacy at home.
The study suggests the benefits of getting a head start in education — whether it is full-day kindergarten or full-day nursery — will wane over time. It just shows what we knew all along, it’s not what happens outside of the home, it matters what happens inside the home.
Such theories are nothing new, however. Dr. David Elkind, an American child psychologist, professor and author, has for decades shown the dangers of “pushing down” elementary education into the early lives of children.
In his 1988 book, Miseducation, Elkind writes that early childhood education can pose too many adaptations in too short a time for children, resulting in stress and extraordinary pressure to perform.
He laments the race to educate when learning supposed to be a lifelong experience.
While it’s the parents who have these great expectations, what they have to ask themselves is whether those expectations are for the child’s good or for their good.
If parents truly want to make a difference, they may want to consider nurturing attachment with their children at home instead of relying on the state to give their children the basics of learning.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.