Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Early Childhood Education: How Far is Too Far?

Has early childhood education gotten out of control?

While we’ve discussed the importance of early childhood education and the negative impact a lack of one can have, further perpetuating the achievement gap, there’s the other end of the spectrum that may be just as worrisome.

Writer Betsy Hart references the movie, “Parenthood,” where the obsessive father of a preschool-aged daughter insists that his child do high-level math and keeps her away from people of average intelligence. While comedic in the late 80’s, has this humor become the reality of the early 2000’s?

Now, schools are available from infancy and can cost over $2,5000 a month. Pre-schools are for older kids—these new schools are for kids 2 and below. You can expect the teachers to have master’s degrees, parent interviews and $30,000 a year in tuition. And despite the price tag, there’s actually a waiting list for such a high-level of infant care.

Since years 1-3 are believed to be the most crucial in early childhood development, it’s no surprise that parents are signing their children up for such programs—but how far is too far?

Some doctors advise that, with all of the pre-early learning and extra-curricular activities, parents need to slow down. Others even believe that doing too much too soon will cause children mental distress and illnesses, even increasing their risk for autism. In an age where babies are doing yoga and infant daycare is more than some college tuition, at what point have we gone too far?

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