Over-Parenting and Daycare Dilemmas

The Over-Parenting Crisis by Katie Allison Granju, author of an influential book on attachment parenting, complains about parents who obsess about every aspect of their children’s development.

This over-parenting has become an epidemic. Legions of well-intentioned mothers and fathers, urged on by popular media and the marketplace, are frantically striving to create an endlessly controlled, bubble-wrapped childrearing environment. From neuroses with regulating our babies’ sleep habits, to insistence on antimicrobial everything, to the attempt to continue “babyproofing” our homes until our babies are well into elementary school, our current parenting zeitgeist is competitive, market-driven . . . and exhausting.

Then Commenter Abbi pointed me to a New York Times blog post about a couple who work different shifts to reduce daycare costs, as I suggested in my post on frugal strategies for young families. During his lunch hour, the husband drives his wife to work at Costco and their 3-year-old and 19-month-old to their daycare for a few hours. Their day ends like this:

At 5:00, Tim picked up the children, brought them home for dinner, ate his own dinner standing by the kitchen counter, then loaded the kids in the car and went to pick his wife up from work at 9:00. Next came bath time, and story time; sign language flashcards for Bailey, potty training time for Cole; after 10:00 there was time for some dinner for Megan, then three loads of laundry. Lights finally out at 2:00 a.m.

Flash cards at 9:00 PM? And I wonder why, if one of the parents is home most of the day, they wait until 10 PM to do laundry. Abbi said it’s because some parents believe they must focus exclusively on their children when they are awake. Maybe this is what Granju is complaining about.

This arrangment does sound difficult, although I suspect this couple could schedule their time at home more efficiently. But no matter the work arrangement life with small children is hectic and intense, unless you have lots of paid household help or energetic grandparents.

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Comments

  1. I think the issue of this post, compared to what you are saying is:
    ““tag team” their parenting so that they pay as little as possible in daycare for three-year-old Cole and 19-month-old Bailey. ”

    Their aim is to pay as little on daycare as possible, not to be with their children as much as possible.
    The good of the children is not their aim, only saving money, even if their life as a couple is hit too.

    Their only gain seems to be earning enough money to survive.
    One always needs to find the happy medium between saving money and living a normal life.

    In one of your comments you wrote that “having both parents work when kids are young is extremely stressful for many families.” It seems to me that the description in that blog is very stressful and far more stressful than if they had put their children in some sort of day care.

    At the moment it seems the situation in the US is different, and in a familiy with 2 small children in Israel, the mother would be able to stay at home.

    I think that it is when there are a number of children, and some are older and there are more expenses, then mothers find more of a financial necessity to work outside their home.

  2. sylvia_rachel says:

    I don’t really understand the 10pm laundry or the 9pm flashcards (in fact, I don’t understand the flashcards, period!) — but you’re right, it would be hard for life in a family with little kids not to be intense and hectic, at least some of the time. I do think people make it harder on themselves than it needs to be, though. (In the example above I also wondered why the whole family has to be mobilized to get one parent to work. No public transportation? Possible, I guess.)

    Then again, I am the most unregenerate slacker mum I know. My daughter (who is six) often goes for months with no extracurricular activities at all, because there’s nothing she desperately wants to do and I can’t be bothered to run around signing her up for things. I often don’t remember to remind her to practice for her weekly spelling tests, and if she doesn’t get all the words right I remind her that she’s only in Grade 1 and has lots of time to learn to spell. I make her help me unload the dishwasher and fold laundry, and put away her own clean clothes, and of course she’s always welcome to help in the kitchen or with whatever I’m doing; we read together often, and we play card games and board games; but if she wants to hang out in her room playing wedding with her stuffed animals, or lie around reading Teen Titans comics, or do somersaults on our bed — great. I have no particular desire to spend all my time improving her mind. When we go to the park, I tend to bring a book and sit on the bench and read (which some other parents find really shocking). If she hurts herself and needs help, don’t worry, she’ll let me know. Sometimes I even let her watch cartoons on TV or play games on the computer, and I don’t even care if they’re “educational”!

    What’s interesting to me, and I wonder if this is part of Granju’s interest as well, is how my slacker-mum ethos has evolved from, and exists alongside, a strong commitment to attachment parenting. My bright, confident, independent six-year-old who wants to go on all the biggest roller-coasters was once an infant who nursed constantly and wouldn’t sleep except in arms, a co-sleeping toddler who “still” didn’t sleep through the night, a three-year-old who insisted on nursing for five minutes when I picked her up from daycare every afternoon, a four-year-old who needed help to get to sleep. Attachment parenting doesn’t mean never letting go; it means letting go on your kids’ timetable rather than (or in compromise with) yours, and getting to know them well enough that you can see when they really need you and when they’re ready to go it alone.

    • Phew…glad to read that….I thought I was the only parent left on the planet that thinks kids should be allowed to be kids and that every waking moment doesn’t need to planned out months in advanced!! Sometimes the best “learning moments” are the ones that just happen.

  3. You said: “What’s interesting to me, and I wonder if this is part of Granju’s interest as well, is how my slacker-mum ethos has evolved from, and exists alongside, a strong commitment to attachment parenting”

    I think that if you give the children the nearness and closeness at the age they need it, they will have the confidence and security to let go of you when *they* decide that they are ready to.

    What you say is also mentioned in the first article MII links to, not overloading them etc.

  4. Agreed that the flashcards seem a bit off, unless there is a hearing problem that wasn’t mentioned.

    As for doing the laundry at night, it’s possible that since money is tight for this family (as mentioned in the original article) they are trying to take advantage of lower nighttime rates for water and electricity.

    2 am lights out seems extremely late.

  5. Keren, I really didn’t get the sense when i read the article that they didn’t want to be with their children. I thought it was a money and family issue. I find Americans in general have this thing about not having non-family members care for their children, if they can help it.

    I can’t understand why flashcards would ever be necessary, unless you need to study for a foreign language course or for the MCATs.

    I don’t know that it’s necessarily AP that makes kids confident and independent. I didn’t do AP and my kids are pretty indpendent and laid back. I think it has more to do with being tuned in to what your kid needs while at the same time setting the right boundaries so they feel safe.

    RM: How about 10 pm lights out for the kids? That sounds insane. I go crazy if my kids aren’t asleep at 8:30.

  6. Flashcards.
    Did anyone hear of Glen Doman a book of how to teach your children to read.

    this dates from the late 1960’s (I think) and claims you can teach children to read from the age of less than a year, part of his method uses flash cards, maybe this is what they are doing?

    here is the link:
    http://www.baby-can-read.com/GlennDomanmethod.html

  7. mominisrael says:

    Keren, I agree that the description made their life seem extremely stressful. That doesn’t mean it can’t work for some families. The idea is to optimize the time the parents spend with the children, considering the financial situation, in the least stressful way.
    S-R: What is important to me is that I am available when my kids need me. So I’m not always playing games with them or reading to them, but I have a sense of what’s going on and I usually can respond when they need something. At least that’s what I tell myself. (But I did get to the park today.) Anyway I could never have been such a slacker if I only had one kid–having lots of kids is my excuse for not signing them up for extracurricular activities. I’m impressed.
    In case not all readers realize, babies and toddlers are taught sign language as this is supposed to help them develop verbally. http://www.signbabies.com/
    RM, good point about the electricity. That makes sense. I think three loads a day for four people, even with a toddler, is way too much. But they may not do that every day.
    Abbi, I agree that the finances were emphasized but there’s no reason to assume they didn’t see more time with the kids as an advantage.

  8. sylvia_rachel says:

    Abbi @ 5 — I didn’t mean that only AP makes kids confident and independent. (And to me your description of your parenting sounds like how I think of AP — maybe the details differ.) And kids are who they are; I think parents can help or hinder, can alleviate or exacerbate, can encourage or discourage, but in the end a child is who he is. I do think, based on my specific experiences with my specific child, that she specifically was helped toward independence by AP. YMMV.

    I was more getting at the fact that AP is sometimes seen as leading to, or as being part of, “over-parenting” — which I think it could do, if your take-home message about AP was not “get to know your kids and their needs, be there for them when they do need you, set appropriate boundaries, let them develop at their own pace” but something more like “your children need you! all the time! you are a BAD PARENT if you leave them to their own devices for even a moment!” Which, unfortunately, does seem to be how AP is sometimes perceived.

    And I guess also I was reacting to some of the (sometimes very harsh) criticism I received when my daughter was younger. One of my sisters-in-law (who has three grown children and five grandchildren) remains convinced that babies need to cry in order to fall asleep. She thinks I am a terrible parent. Oh well ;).

  9. My sister in law – in Hong Kong – complains that her friends’ children’s schools send the kids home every Friday with a report card even if they are 3. Parents are told weekly how well the kids do in al areas of school life. Apparently French mothers find this too much.

  10. No question it is a stressful stage of family life. At the risk of sounding passe’, seems to me that the couple’s relationship and how they communicate with one another (and use outside resources) that mitigates the stress. Without “shalom bayit” none of it feels navigable.

  11. what’s wrong with flashcards?
    (i recently dusted off old aleph bet flash cards from when i was in preschool.)

  12. sylvia_rachel says:

    LoZ @ 11 — for a 19-month-old?

    When I was in grade 3 and we were learning multiplication tables, we all had to make flashcards, one for each problem from 1×1 to 12×12. I hated them, but they were very useful — I got very good at multiplying from 1 to 12 without thinking about it, which is a useful life skill. But I don’t know how you would even get a 19-month-old to sit still long enough to look at more than one or two of them, especially at 9:00 at night. And, more to the point, why does a 19-month-old need flash cards?

  13. Sylvia_Rachel, did you have or do you have alphabet wooden blocks for your younger children? There is conceptually no difference between using a flashcard and using those alphabet blocks to teach very young kids. I used the blocks with my kids. Yes, they played with the blocks, and built houses and castles and whatever they wanted. And they also learned “A is for Avrumi” and “T is for Tate” and “M is for mommy” and all the rest of the connections to the letters they were viewing. There is no one age that learning begins, so why not at 19 months?

  14. sylvia_rachel says:

    Sure, my kid played with alphabet blocks. And all kinds of “educational” toys. And of course she learned from playing with them: that’s what kids do, they learn from playing, and from everything else they do. It’s possible she even learned some letters from those blocks, although to me it looked like she was mainly learning about gravity, and what kind of noise wooden blocks make when they fall from a height onto a parquet floor, and that corners are pointy.

    I do see a conceptual difference between alphabet blocks and flashcards, though. One is a toy that kids can use for unstructured, undirected imaginative play, and maybe along the way those letters on the sides start to look familiar. The other is explicitly designed as a tool for rote memorization. If you gave a set of flashcards to a 19-month-old to play with, what would she do with them? (Mine would have chewed on them until they disintegrated. But maybe that’s just my kid.)

    Full disclosure: when I was very little, my father decided he was going to teach me to read. He made flashcards with words on them, and we worked on them every night at bedtime. The only cards I ever got right were the ones that also had drawings of the words on them. I didn’t, not surprisingly, learn to read. I also had a very bad experience with Suzuki violin (which also starts kids very young, is very regimented, and relies heavily on rote memorization) when I was three. I think little kids need time and space to explore and observe their world more than they need flashcards and language classes and Suzuki violin.

    I did eventually learn to read, obviously. I was almost seven, and halfway through grade 1. Several of my friends, and several kids I know of my daughter’s generation, learned to read much earlier — at three, or four, or five. All these people have one thing in common: their parents read to them, and had books around the house, but never made any effort to teach them to read.

  15. Profk- there is absolutely huge difference between abc blocks and flashcards. Blocks allow children to engage in imaginative play and maybe in passing their pick up some letters. Sitting down your 2 year old with flashcards is actively forcing him to learn letters or words when in all probablility he/she is not ready and probably not even interested. Unless your child asks you to learn letters and words with flashcards, I don’t think they have any place in early childhood education.

  16. Klara Le Vine says:

    To all of you who question the use of flash cards, you probably aren’t familiar with Glen Doman. Another link http://www.iahp.org/

    I was privileged to have discovered it when my first born (now 28) was nine months old and took their first video course. It brought parenting to a whole higher level, where it was fun, for me and her. We did all kinds of activities TOGETHR, for the point is the parent is the best teacher. The idea is not to structure every single minute, but to make children’s learning on purpose, not by accident.

    He started this with brain damaged children, studied how children naturally grew, and realized those who were brain damaged, were missing developmental stages. They were given special exercises for that which was missing, amongst them flash cards (there’s much much more – and btw, the biggest point of it all is it should be fun for the child, if not the parent is to stop!!!!). They found that normal siblings who weren’t given the exercises, but just were around in the background also seemed to learn faster than their peers. So the course became available for normal kids.

    I can’t tell you how much I loved it – and yes, my 28 y.o does remember it, and yes, she is quite bright (but I’ll never know if that was due to Glen Doman’s methods, or she just inherited all those genius genes from my husband). As I had more kids, it became harder for me to be organized to do it, so kind of fell by the wayside, which I am sorry for.

    And yes, I also loved attachment parenting, and even with all that, I wish I could go back now so I could have done more with my kids – I feel housework was way overated in those days (maybe today too). I loved being a mother to my little ones, but in retrospect, I would have changed some very important ways I spent my energies (but maybe like we say for our parents, I did the best I could with what I knew)

  17. Klara, I’m not sure why learning faster is any better than learning at pace that children are meant to. Are your children not as successful and happy as they could have been had you “done more” with them educationally? I almost always choose going to the park or playing games vs. washing my floors, and I’m happy to play letter memory games with my kids, but I’m against sitting them down and teaching things they’ll be taught in school anyway. I’m in no rush for my six year old to read, I’m sure she’ll get it in Kita Aleph next year anyway. And if she doesn’t, we’ll work on it together then. But I don’t see the necessity of working on these things before the age appropriate time. Even if kids learn a bit faster because of these programs, the results probably even out towards the middle of elementary school anyway.

    Why is the parent necessarily the best teacher? I don’t think that’s necessarily true for every family.

  18. Klara Le Vine says:

    oh dear, feel deja vu – when I was defending Megirot

    Mother in Israel, hope you don’t mind

    Abbi, it isn’t just learning faster, it’s living fuller. According to Glen Doman, and I’ve heard it from others, the ages from birth to six are like sponges – and what is absorbed there stays forever – not necessarily the facts, but how the mind works. Intelligence isn’t just reading sooner, it really is using the brain muscles.

    and for me it wasn’t just about teaching my kids to read or swim or do math – it was about having fun with them. I learned violin so I could teach them. I took them with me on my Wild Foods Walks – and loved sharing with them.

    Yes, there were many who said just let them learn “naturally” why rush it? I didn’t feel it was a matter of rushing, but more a matter of guiding my kids in a conscious way, rather than learning by accident.

    About parents being the best teacher – not like teachers in school, but more about the parent knowing the child the best and being the most enthusiastic advocate for anything they do.

  19. mominisrael says:

    Klara–I don’t mind. You’re presenting your case well.

  20. I have master’s in Education and I strongly believe that providing children with a variety of educational experiences is the key to setting the stage for a lifelong love of learning. I don’t believe a child’s life is enriched by learning from flash cards nor do I think they “exercise their brain muscles” any better if they use cards vs. flipping through books and asking questions about the pictures. Books are actually preferable because then children learn how they work. Adults don’t read from cards, they read from books. Recognizing letters on street signs and playing I Spy in the supermarket are great ways of making the connection between reading and real life and much more rewarding than cards, for most children.

    Reading books and choosing books from the library is also fun. There are many fun ways of naturally bringing reading into a child’s life. And there’s a reason that most children learn to read around ages of 6-7. Because that’s when most children are developmentally ready. The risk of harming a child’s attitude towards learning is greater than the possible benefits of a slightly earlier reading age. These “educational” programs are just money makers for their developers. There’s no empirical evidence that they have any long term impact on a child’s learning over the course of their entire schooling. Most children who learn to read early meet up with their peers some time around 3-4th grade.

    As for intelligence, since children have multiple intelligences, there are multiple ways of developing them. I don’t see how teaching early reading in a skills driven fashion makes children any more intelligent than playing with blocks, learning how plants grow or dancing.

  21. Klara Le Vine says:

    Abbi,

    I bow to your knowledge gained from your Master’s degree – again I mentioned it’s a lot lot more involved than just learning to read – the program was to cover all the developmental phases of a child, artistic, manual, much more.

    I don’t feel it was for the purpose of money making at all – one can learn the principles and do them all on one’s own (making the flash cards, teaching anything at all to one’s child using the pirnciples of keeping it fun and simple). Some of the points of the flash cards:

    1. To make them simple, not cluttered with other objects in the picture (that’s for learning other info than reading). In the beginning to make words larger and in red, as more appealing to younger children

    2). To go through them fast and with enthusiasm, ALWAYS to stop before the child does not seem to be interested

    3) and I repeat, it was a whole program, an attitude of respect for the child in many ways. It included many ideas, about nutrition, about creating ways to stimulate a child’s mobility, lots and lots of areas – I really don’t think this is the place to explain it all, nor am I an expert at it. I can only repeat I found it made parenting much more meaningful for me, I enjoyed the sharing with my kids, because I did things I enjoyed with them. I didn’t enjoy sitting in a park and just “baby-sitting” – I enjoyed going for walks with them and learning about nature. I’m sorry you feel so anti. Btw, learning how plants grow or dancing is definitely part of it all – in fact, everything is, the flash cards is just one very small portion.

    the program with the flash cards is to build up – first with simple, then with more complicated – one of the ones I loved the most was a book created from the flash cards.

    It’s a whole program, not fair to chop it up to bits and pieces and defend each little part.

    I never felt pressure in doing this, never any of the same feelings I had once they were in school (or feelings I had when I was in school). No sitting down with 30 other children and doing rote stuff, and sometimes with boring teachers, or worse, with downright bad teachers.

    I was very grateful that I found this when my child was so young. I wish I had given over more to the rest of the kids. Basically it’s giving them attention which all children thrive on, but done with goals in mind – I had no problems at all with those goals. children love to learn, what could be wrong with feeding that love?!

    I aologize, but as with my defending Megirot, my defending something that meant so much to me is a bit draining. I hope this will be my last post on it. Perhaps do some more reading on The Better Baby Institute, without feelings of anti.

    I can’t say more than I really really loved it.

  22. Well,
    My parents tried to teach me to read with Glenn Doman’s methods! (I also read his book and also have read about baby signing which is very logical and also fascninating)

    I just reccomend that anyone who is curious about this, look at the links that we gave here!

    The interesting point I want to make about parenting methods is that I recently saw the one and only video we ever made of our eldest daughter when she was about 2.5.
    It consisted of my husband and I asking her all sorts of questions about “knowldge”. He looked and said “see how much we taught her, I am afraid our littlest daughter aged 3 and a few months does not know all that”.

    I did check her out, and she seemed to have picked up all the info that was drilled into number one (who is now almost 20) and I realized that with my 6th child today, I find it much more important to teach her what is called emotional intelligence and to teach skills, she should have confidence, make friends, know how to ride a bike and climb and have experiences.
    In a kindergarten it is more important for me that there should be a warm atmospehere that what she actually learns in terms of knowledge.

    (Saying that we do try to expose her to learning experiences, discuss things we see on a walk, etc etc, butI am not teaching her things off by heart)

  23. sylvia_rachel says:

    MII @ 8 — I didn’t start out as such a slacker mom — I’ve had to work at it ;-). I was much more concerned about a lot of things when my daughter was a baby than I am now. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change most of what I did when she was small, but I would be a lot more laid-back about most things and not worry so much. Also — of course it would be different if there was something she really loved and wanted to do more of (dancing or rock climbing or whatever). I’d try to make sure it didn’t take over her life, but I wouldn’t stop her from pursuing it. So far, though, that hasn’t happened.

  24. rachel in israel says:

    I think all of this (flash cards, sign language, calculus 3 by age 4) is I call “new and improved parenting techniques”, i.e. all the stuff we see nowadays of the “absolute best and only” way to make your child into the next Einstein. (for the math freaks out there, instead of Baby Einstein, we should start our own Baby Gauss line of videos, at least he did know math as a child. Anyone not familiar please read the legend about his math discovery as a young child http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauss)

    I remember when daughter was under 1 when we were living in the US and she was the only kid who wasn’t in any type of organized group (that you pay for of course). She also seemed to be the only one without flashy “learning” toys that would read Shakespeare to her when she pressed a button, in fact she didn’t and still doesn’t own that many toys, none of the with batteries. I kept reminding myself that kids learn best in unstructured environment. I remember an incident when one toddler came to our house picked up her toys, and tried to find buttons or shake them, and them put them down. His mom explained that the majority of his toys had batteries and he wasn’t used to toys that didn’t make any sounds.

    By now thank G-d and am more mature and I simply stopped caring about those things and do what I want and what I think is best. Some days slacker mom is an understatement. I refuse to teach her to read before they do it in school (unless she picks it up on her own), the best argument I heard was that if the child learns to read to early s/he will be bored in class with all the consequences of it (bad behavior, starting to dislike learning, and what not). Learning to read at the appropriate time is simply good enough for me. I learned to read after the age of 6 and do it quite well by now (in 2.5 languages mind you), well above average and better than many people my age who learned earlier. I remember one AP mom who taught sign language to her kid, she later complained that the kid learned to talk later because he communicated so well without speech. I know that the plural of anecdote is not data, but those new and improve parenting techniques are never 100% and can even backfire. Kids have learned to talk without sign language for many thousands of years, so did I and so is my kid (in fact, many more people in the “good old time” used to speak more languages than they do now). Unless child has a problem and is not developing properly, I won’t try new techniques.

    So, anyone out there who just wants to be a “good enough” mom, please join the club…

  25. Keren, thank you for bringing up the point about emotional intelligence and I agree completely that a warm environment that emphasizes socialization is the best in terms of daycare/preschool environments. Both my kids are now actually in very “academic” environments and while my older one is definitely ready for kita aleph, which is nice, she’s developed this gan pushiness that I try to get out of her when she comes home.

    There are stages for everything in a child’s life and I think the early years should be reserved for simply learning how to get along with others, learning empathy (it can be taught) becoming familiar with different materials, developing imagination and curiosity. I really don’t think learning to read one year earlier or later really makes a difference in the larger scheme of a child’s life.

  26. Empathy,
    that is interesting as i was just talking about it to my little girl aged 3 today.
    She was bothering her brother and I was trying to explain to her that she should not do things to him that he does not like (and she was understanding).
    Can you give examples Abi of how you teach or work with them on empathy?

    rachel in israel: re signing, I also heard about children not speaking because they signed so well, but reading the theory about it is fascinating, even if you do not bother to implement it (it is a real bother). They explain that at the beginning children (I think till age 6 even), children learn what you are saying from everything you do, not just the verbal words, but expression and body language, so if you say one thing but express something else in your expression, they might pick up on the body language rather than the words. The example is the children of deaf people who use “real” sign language, who learn this instead of spoken language.

    That is just what I meant by saying that the ideas behind this are fascinating.

  27. Keren, I think what I meant by teaching empathy is seizing on opportunities like your kids’ fight and making the point that you did, modeling empathic behavior for your kids with them and with others and praising/pointing out when they are being empathic (catching them being good).

    It’s really really hard and takes a lot of going over and over the same points. It can be that much harder when you’re dealing with kids who seem to have no natural empathy (not saying that this is the case with you; I’ve encountered a few kids like this while teaching and it was really difficult to teach them empathy). My oldest in particular seemed to display a lot of natural empathy from a young age. She still fights with her sister just like any other five year old, but I felt it’s a bit easier to deal with these issues with her and my younger because I had something to start with.

    Another thing I do, actually, come to think of it, is that I encourage my kids to verbalize what is bothering them and sometimes I actually give them the script, because they are too upset to come up with the words. Like if they are fighting over a doll, I say to the one whose doll was grabbed “Tell her: I’m very upset that you took my doll”. Sometimes kids need this kind of scriptwriting because it’s simply too hard for them to verbalize on their own.

    I find when i come up with the words for them, it really helps them calm down, mostly because they feel they’ve been validated while at the same time, they feel empowered by having the words to express themselves. They also have a model of how to verbalize on their own in the future.

  28. Yes Abi,
    verbalizing, I am working a lot on teaching them to say what they feel, just as you describe, it helps them, and with the older children we see that it pays off, that they know to say they are angry (or the 7 yr old says he feels very frustrated!). It is wonderful, I particularly like the book, “how to talk so children can listen and listen so children can talk”

  29. yes, i’ve skimmed that book and i think she makes that suggestion or something similar as well.

  30. mominisrael says:

    I agree that Faber and Mazlish wrote great books. You guys inspired a new post: http://www.amotherinisrael.com/2009/04/28/teaching-compassion-to-children-start-when-they-are-babies/

  31. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/magazine/03wwln-lede-t.html?ref=magazine

    Apropos of pushing academics.

    “According to “Crisis in the Kindergarten,” a report recently released by the Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, all that testing is wasted: it neither predicts nor improves young children’s educational outcomes. More disturbing, along with other academic demands, like assigning homework to 5-year-olds, it is crowding out the one thing that truly is vital to their future success: play.”

  32. Here’s a better quote:

    “Regardless of the cause, Miller says, accelerating kindergarten is unnecessary: any early advantage fades by fourth grade. “It makes a parent proud to see a child learn to read at age 4, but in terms of what’s really best for the kid, it makes no difference.” For at-risk kids, pushing too soon may backfire. The longitudinal High/Scope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study followed 68 such children, who were divided between instruction- and play-based classrooms. While everyone’s I.Q. scores initially rose, by age 15, the former group’s academic achievement plummeted. They were more likely to exhibit emotional problems and spent more time in special education. “Drill and kill,” indeed.”

  33. there were 3 groups in that 1967 study (btw 68 kids divided into 3 groups, by no means a big study), all kids were born in poverty, so these kids couldn’t represent whole population. Also, in the so called “Direct Instruction”, teachers “followed script to directly teach children academic skills”, so no fancy studying methods were introduced, just plain boring school-like teaching.

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