The Pressures of going to Preschool

My youngest sister didn’t attend preschool. She was the youngest of 5 kids and my parents were, honestly, just too tired and old(er) to send her. So after 1 year (actually, I think it was only 1 semester) in the mandatory prep level, she entered the U.P. Integrated School for 1st grade. She totally enjoyed school because my parents just let her go through the everyday rigors of school without the pressure (as I said, they were too tired after 4 older kids!). We laughed through her funny mistakes in pronouncing words or when she would always fall from her chair because of being too playful at the dinner table.

Fast forward to her college graduation, she finished Magna Cum Laude in Business Administration at UP. She worked in prestigious marketing sectors. Now, she stopped worked to focus on another chapter of her life 🙂 She’s getting married in December.

So you’re wondering why this story after a title like that?!

I just wanted to show you a glimpse of an unpressured preschooler, going on to live life with much enthusiasm and excellence even without the pounding of today’s pressure-cooker preschools. I got an e-mail from Child Care Exchange, which by the way, you should subscribe to, about Pressure-Cooker Kindergarten in the US. It may be based a thousand miles away, but America has its way of wheedling into our culture.

The article clearly admonishes the alarming pressure for children to be test-prepared rather educated. Or guidelines that truly are not developmentally appropriate to create a semblance of genius.

Take the example of a girl who was barely 5 when she entered Gerzon’s classroom. She didn’t know her ABCs, but one day in class she made up a song and taught it to the other children. But because of new requirements, “I had to send a letter to her parents saying that [she] is not proficient,” says Gerzon. “You tell me that [she] is not proficient in language skills!” The Concord resident, who usually exudes a gentle presence, bristles. “It’s destructive, even abusive. That’s a pretty strong word, but what do you call it when you take a group of children and you force them to do something that they are not developmentally ready to do? What do you call that? It’s abusive.”

David Elkind, author of The Hurried Child and The Power of Play, adds to the article with a statement that made me want to jump off my seat and give him a standing ovation..

When children are required to do academics too early, he says, they get the message that they are failures. “We are sending too many children to school to learn that they are dumb,” says Elkind, a professor emeritus at Tufts University. “They are not dumb. They are just not there developmentally.”

I can site a hundred similar stories. To read the whole article, click here.

Sometimes we fall in love with the Super Child that the world pictures rather than the Special Child that we already have. Much of it, I think, comes from the inner needs of parents to give their children what they didn’t get or Healing through Rearing.

Chill, parents! Learning is supposed to be fun. Don’t let the world and advertising tell you otherwise.

Protecting their hearts is more important than enlarging their brains. I’ve seen enough students with “undeveloped hearts and large brains” to say that the kids with huge hearts always finish first..

P.S. This is dedicated to my soon-t0-be-married sister Karla.. You have always been a loving sister and daughter.. Your being smart pales in comparison 🙂

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9 thoughts on “The Pressures of going to Preschool

  1. awww… *tear*
    bias aside, this is a great article, ate! i will definitely share this with my parent friends. being an educator is truly your calling (maybe it’s partly because of you being first-born?!) something to think about when we have babies of our own 🙂

  2. I agree! One time a Mom-acquaintance (from a summer program my son attended) was telling me she and her daughter would “fight”… “cause up to know she doesn’t know all her letters… ” Her daughter was about 3. I felt bad for them…

    And this: a kid wanted to buy this lovely picture book in the school fair. Her mom said no since the book is for babies and should “read something more for his age”. Sad : (

    1. Hi Nikka! Awww, that saddens me too. It makes me want to tell that mother, how many wasted minutes did you argue when you could have used it singing the alphabet or playing with your daughter!!!!

  3. Great post!

    Moms I meet lately give me this horrified look when I say my boy is not going to preschool yet because most of their kids started with playschool at age 2. My boy is 5 now and he’s just at home with me all the time. I just want him to play as much as he wants and when I think he is really ready for school. But most don’t really understand my decision. It was just this year that he started really talking and telling stories 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting Mommy Cow! If anyone approaches you with the same comment or stare, send them my way and I’ll give them a sermon..hahaha. Btw, you have a great blog! Keep on reading..

  4. Hi! I just got your link from girltalk. I would like to commend and thank you for the interesting facts you presented. I’m a mother of an 5-year old who in kinder and your articles gave me more ideas on how to incorporate his notes to real life, like showing him a really plant to study its parts and not just looking at the pictures.

  5. Hi Teacher Tina,

    My youngest sister was an average preschool learner, maybe even below average. When she got older, she became Captain of the Swim team, and a college student with focus. Our family is so proud of her as she is now a budding Chemist in Europe.

    On another note, I pulled out my son from a so-called good progressive school because he would cry hysterically whenever he was brought to school. This started only towards the end of the first semester last year. I felt sorry for my child, he was miserable there. So, I decided to stop sending him to school in the beginning of the 2nd semester and started teaching him at home. I let him do things that he truly enjoyed. Even now, we are still homeschooling. He is 5 y.o. but his reading is around Grade level 2. His teacher did not recognize this strength that he had.

    People give me a weird look when I tell them that I teach my son at home.

    I recommend the book Coloring Outside the Lines by Roger Schrank, PhD to all parents. It talks about how schools stifle one’s potentials when we are made to undergo a one-size-fits -all system…

    Parents should really should stand up against the commercialization of education.

    DepEd does not even require preschool education.

    1. Hello Filipina at Home!

      Kudos to your involvement in your son’s education! I also got weird looks (even from my dad) when I homeschooled my eldest for High School! But congratulations for staying the course!

      Schrank’s book is one of my favorites and I always recommend it parents when they’re bothered with what society is telling them what learning should be.

      Thanks for your comment and regards to your sister… wow, a Filipina chemist in Europe! Makes me proud just reading it!

  6. I left the traditional school because I cannot take anymore the “pressure cooker” they put in the child. I was teaching grade 1 for 6 years and my heart cannot take it anymore when I have to force them to learn what they are not developmentally ready yet just because to please the parents. Imagine we were required to give these first grader 100 items test! That’s abusive! Now that I a mother of 2 boys (3yrs. Old and 1 yr. old) I don’t want these to happen to them. They’re children, they’re supposed to have fun and play! Amen to your blogs ms. tina.

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