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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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