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Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 01:08 AM   #1
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Preschool

There are a few new parents with toddlers here, so I figured somebody might be interested in the different theories of early childhood education.

We compared a "traditional" preschool with a Montessori, and the Montessori won hands-down. The differences in approaches and outcomes were so jaw-dropping that I was driven to look into the underlying theories a bit.

This paper provides a good overview of:

(1) the Sensory Cognitive approach, or the Montessori Method; (2) the Behavioral approach implemented as Direct Instruction; (3) the Developmental Interaction approach implemented as Developmental Interaction (formerly known as Bank Street); and (4) the Cognitive Developmental approach implemented as HighScope.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 09:37 AM   #2
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Re: Preschool

This is all wonderful and great.....until they get in public schools. Then it is all chaos and un-inspiring. Public schools are a great wasteland of misinformation, inadequate focus on basic skills, and generally a misuse of most of the day. Kids are not focused on learning because they have to be there. Private schools seem to be much better since you choose to be there and pay $$$ to attend. They also pay teachers more and have higher expecations for their ability to actually teach. Discipline issues are less in private schools than in public; mostly because of the higher tuition costs.

My kids went to both kinds and I now wish I had spent the money on private all the way. They are smart kids but the level of education and the "play time" atmosphere of the schools they were (along with the huge class sizes of 30+) made for a difficult learning environment. Add too many PhD. administrators with too little to do to the mix and you have a mess. (My mother taught in public schools for 40 years; I heard all the horror stories).

Some schools are better than others without a doubt. Some teachers are very good while others could care less due to many factors. If you can continue to inspire kids to learn and give them the tools, even the worst schools will not prevent them from learning and getting a very good education.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 09:47 AM   #3
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Re: Preschool

Though I'm far from an expert in early childhood developmental psychology, I think my little girl will be best off not going to preschool. Personal interaction with family and instruction at home should do just fine. Like homeschooling for preschool aged children.

I didn't go to preschool and I turned out ok.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 09:51 AM   #4
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Re: Preschool

Statistically, kids that go to preschool do better in kindergarten, those who do better in kindergarten do better in grade school, those who do better in grade school do better in middle school, high school, college, etc.

May be just that the smart kids get sent to preschool. Maybe preschool gives them an 'edge'.

Maybe our kids need fewer 'edges' and more play time with cans of tomato sauce.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 09:52 AM   #5
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Re: Preschool

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
I didn't go to preschool and I turned out ok.
Think we need to poll the forum on this one...

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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 10:01 AM   #6
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Re: Preschool

The confounding variables are socioeconomic status and educational background of the parents. I've studied some local schools in my area that are pretty crappy at first glance. Bad test scores, etc.

When I control for socioeconomic status and educational background of the parents of these students, it turns out that plenty of kids do great at crappy schools.

Whose kids are successful? Kids with parents that are:

-white or Asian
-well educated
-not poor

my kid's parents:
- 1 white, 1 asian (best of both worlds!),
- have doctoral degrees
- aren't poor (substantial positive net worth)

In conclusion, my daughter will do fine in Kindergarten. If I can potty train her first.

Based on my research, I find that parents who are non-Asian minorities, poor and uneducated should send their kids to preschool.



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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 10:04 AM   #7
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Re: Preschool

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Originally Posted by justin
If I can potty train her first.
Dont do it man. Unless you've got a rug and an empty closet.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Preschool

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Originally Posted by ()


Maybe our kids need fewer 'edges' and more play time with cans of tomato sauce.
Most definately. My best friend's daughter is now at Yale and having a good time. No preschool for her. Her mother worked and her father was the stay at home parent when she was growing up. He dad sure knows how to play. From potato guns to electronic gizmos to adventures of all kinds. The kid is well adjusted and knows how to have fun as well as how to learn.

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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 10:11 AM   #9
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Re: Preschool

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Dont do it man. Unless you've got a rug and an empty closet.
Home Depot sells quickrete, and I've got a lake in my backyard. Besides, I don't need any more skeletons in my closet. I've already explained to the little dear that she can date as soon as she is 18. And married.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 11:04 AM   #10
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Re: Preschool

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Originally Posted by ()
Statistically, kids that go to preschool do better in kindergarten, those who do better in kindergarten do better in grade school, those who do better in grade school do better in middle school, high school, college, etc.
Maybe they do, but why? Where're the double-blind repeatable studies from unbiased research institutes? Otherwise it might just be due to a boosted immune system from swapping preschool viruses before starting elementary!

As far as preschool or Montessori or homeschooling or boarding school or military academies go, parents will continue to do what makes them feel better & sleep at night. Hopefully that's in the kid's best interests too...
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 11:09 AM   #11
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Re: Preschool

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Originally Posted by SteveR
This is all wonderful and great.....until they get in public schools.* Then it is all chaos and un-inspiring.
What I like about the Montessori approach is that it basically gives the kids skills to think for themselves, focus, explore, and discover. * *It doesn't focus much on academics and it is basically the opposite of the Direct Instruction method that we're all painfully familiar with.

When they make the transition to public schools, some of them are pissed that they can't follow their curiosity in the classroom anymore, but they seem to adapt and thrive for the most part. * One longitudinal study I looked at found that essentially all of the kids in the program loved to learn, planned to go to college, and had lots of self-confidence.

Forget the "confounding variables." * Montessori was originally estabished to teach special-needs kids, not genetically-enriched kids. * But I think the principles apply to almost any kid.

Before you make up your mind based on preset notions or anecdotal evidence, consider observing a classroom. * *I haven't seen all of the different forms of preschool education in action, but as I said, the differences between Montessori and the "romper room" approach is really jaw-dropping. * *All* of the 2-5 year old Montessori kids I saw were engaged, articulate, and self-confident.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 12:14 PM   #12
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Re: Preschool

My wife teaches school in Los Angeles. She has taught in private religious schools and has a grad degree and more. Education discussions get interesting because they cover such a range of circumstances and resources. My daughter in law teaches at a Montessori school. In general this is a great approach. But every school is different, check out the specific school. The most important thing is to know your kid. I went to a presentation by the Director of the National Institute of Health and I remember an interesting "insight", about 50% of the students will learn from any system-- phonics, open reading systems, structured or unstructured. Then the question is how do the other 50% learn? Well, they each have approaches that would work best.
My son went to a "great" preschool associated with CALTECH. He is in a public school as it is one of the better ones in the state. I wouldn't hesitate to pay for a good private school if it were better. But of all the private schools in our area only one is truly superior and he couldn't get in there. All the others have no better SATs, college admissions or other accomplishments than the good public schools.
But despite his dad being a geek and a compulsive reader my son is only an OK student with a serious interest in music. A Mohawk haired drummer, its true, but hes serious. In two marching bands, his own rock band, practices all the time and wakes up and starts writing music. Now this is not what I expected in a kid (his older brother is more geeky, a MS in geography & mapping and a job in that field). But you have to work with your kids interests, abilities and development.
So pay attention, pick a good school and keep paying attention, this is not a one time decision or a private VS public issue. Sounds like things are starting well.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 12:26 PM   #13
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Re: Preschool

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
...Forget the "confounding variables." ...

...Before you make up your mind based on preset notions or anecdotal evidence, consider observing a classroom.
I think you have to pay close attention to confounding variables when you're looking at studies of education and the results. You can't forget them. Observing a classroom is anecdotal evidence.

I recall recently some colleagues of mine talking about spending $7000 per year on preschool for their 3 year old. And there's a 2 year waiting list! I'm sure it is the best of the best in terms of education, but think about the pressure on that poor little kid. I figure at that age, teaching them ABC's and 123's and letting them play with educational toys sometimes and encouraging them to read and problem solve and analyze and talking and interacting with them will probably be just as beneficial developmentally.


Whatever works though.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 12:40 PM   #14
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Re: Preschool

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
I figure at that age, teaching them ABC's and 123's and letting them play with educational toys sometimes and encouraging them to read and problem solve and analyze and talking and interacting with them will probably be just as beneficial developmentally.
In the end, you probably can't go wrong. Kids are robust. Kids before the age of 6 or so are sponges. And even if you did 60-year-long double-blind studies, defining "success" is pretty damn tricky.

I'm not trying to sell you, but the only reason we even considered preschool was for socialization. We're seeing many more benefits, and I'm intrigued by the different approaches. Parents can do fine on their own, but some of these approaches are based on science, observing lots of kids, and building an elaborately structured environment that is difficult (and expensive) to replicate at home.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 12:57 PM   #15
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Re: Preschool

I'm with you, Wab, on the socialization thing. It is very important, and something I missed and feel it has impacted me to this day (I'm more introverted). I'm lucky to have the option of grandma daycare for my little one. 4 cousins to play with all the time. And I'm going to try getting playdates with a few cow*rkers who just had kids too.
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Re: Preschool
Old 10-28-2005, 01:31 PM   #16
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Re: Preschool

Two girls, 7 and 14. Both did full day day-care before starting school. They both seemed to enjoy the socialization.

14 yr old went to a Friends School (Quaker run but not a religous school) through 6th grade.

7 yr old went to same Friends School only for kindergarden.

Both now in public school. We live in a big college town with great public schools. Both transitioned fine. Basically happy, smart kids except when they fight with each other.
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