Kindergarten used to be an entrance grade in which students learned about school and had a fun time while at school. As the educational standards keep changing, so does the rise of expectations for kindergarteners. Nowadays, it’s not enough for a student to know how to count before they enter grade school. Instead, the students are practically being forced to learn everything before they even enter school.
The large questions here is whether or not education should be forced on a child like this. Also, are the educational standards becoming too high and too unrealistic for this nation? There is no doubt that students are learning more now than they did fifty years ago. If the educational aspect is not enough to put America to shame, students are being forced to learn life skills and other self-regulation skills at en even earlier age. The developmental requirements for students keep going up. That also means that more students are being recorded as developmentally delayed, just because the standards continue to rise.
Some experts think that students should be preparing for college before they even enter Kindergarten. More states are jumping on board with this outlook, because they think higher education is extremely important. Early-learning programs are becoming more established throughout the United States because people are seeing such positive results.
Balancing Out Early Childhood Programs
Educators across the country are struggling to balance the good of learning with allowing children to still remain children. Standards are written and rewritten to make sure early learning is about learning and not always about fun. Preschool is to prepare students for kindergarten and kindergarten is to prepare students for college. Of course, there are a lot of different views on this topic. Educators have to find a balance between meeting the current standards, and continuing to incorporate new standards, put into place by legislatures and school officials.
Many school officials are telling educators to take a look at the early childhood education in their towns. The main concern is that students are not being taught to their full potential. Advocates are fighting for these students saying: the early years are time for play and developing motor skills. It’s not always agreed upon that students should be taught about rigorous subjects like math and science. There has to be a good balance. Sometimes too much mental stimulation with these “academic” programs can cause the students mind to become overstimulated and just shut-down from learning. Learning is a gradual process and students learn as they go.
If a child is showing irregular development, then it is important to test them. This is where early intervention comes in handy for young children with delays. There are many proven studies that show early intervention makes a huge difference in future learning.
Educational System is Complex
Early childhood education programs are typically put last in school systems. Many educators are working hard to make sure early education is put first. The early educational years need to align with the other grades. Transition is important although school but really important in those earlier learning years. Each state varies in their approach to align early education with elementary and secondary education. Educators have to also figure out how they can prove their curriculum matches across the board.
Another issue plaguing the educational system is how to assess students. Assessing helps school officials figure out where a child really stands in regards to learning. Schools cannot always afford accurate assessment tools and that hurts the entire school system. It’s expensive to assess students and also something that requires training. Early childhood education is not funded in the same manner that other grades are taken care of. A lot of these programs are private and funding comes from undisclosed sources or tuition.
A lot of states are taking matters into their own hands. Educators are busy aligning standards and making sure curriculum matches future grades. Parents and educators want the students in their community to be educated and most states are on board with this idea. Some people are frustrated with early education not being focused on playing and such, but most agree it’s wise to prepare students for anything. The focus is being put on all types of learning and not just one kind. Integration of curriculum is important so that early education is taken care of.
Early education is important but there is also a fine line. It’s wise to sit back and educate parents about the importance of preparing younger children for what lies in the future. Education is becoming more prevalent and it’s vital that students are taught right from the start of their schooling years. School officials, educators and parents should work together instead of against each other, to provide the best learning environment for their young children.