Arguments against compulsory preschool education

Arguments against compulsory preschool education
Arguments against compulsory preschool education

Education experts often like to brag that in the international PIRLS study of the reading skills of fourth-graders in 2001 and 2006, Bulgarian girls who attended kindergarten for a longer time had better achievements than those who who have been in kindergarten for one year or less. With this, the specialists want to justify a madness - the introduction of compulsory preschool education from 4 years, which, according to them, will affect the improvement of achievements in school and the loss of interest, dropping out of school. Preschool education, they believe, contributes to children's cognitive, language, social and emotional development. But they don't say that at the same time there was a decline in fourth-graders' achievement. Authoritative research by the AIDS Center proves that children who are raised by their parents develop better socially, physically, psychologically and academically. They have fewer behavioral problems, better language skills and better school preparation than other children. And those who spent more time in fun show lower results in lexical preparation in the 5th grade.

The MOMN does not comment on the results of the PIRLS study in 2011, which show that the knowledge of our students collapses already in the fourth grade. From 2006 to 2011, Bulgarians fell from 10th to 22nd place out of 49 countries and regions. Also, the number of excellent students decreased from 16% to 11%. Although our country is above the average level, studies prove that Bulgaria, together with Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden, has had the biggest drop in reading achievement over the last 10 years - by 18 points.

For 15-year-old students, the collapse is even greater. According to the latest international PISA study from 2009, which is the third in a row, 41% of Bulgarians are functionally illiterate. They fall behind in reading, math and science. Only 2% are high achievers.

Furthermore, the results are downright desperate. Bulgaria is in 30th place in the world among the 40 countries in terms of the quality of its educational system, according to the study of the educational company Pearson. The ranking is based on the results of exams every 3-4 years in mathematics, science and literacy, and also based on the percentage of school and university graduates between 2006 and 2010

Research indicates that the weaknesses of the education system are not the only reason for the collapse of knowledge in school. According to PISA, for example, poor socio-economic conditions, poor school discipline, poor relationships between teachers and students have an impact. Pearson, for his part, believes that the cost of education is important, but the attitude of society towards education and the availability of high-quality teachers are also important. There is no correlation between higher pay and better teacher performance. It is clear that the longer students spend in school, the lower their achievement. Does this mean that compulsory pre-school education will be able to further influence their school performance?

When children are separated from their family environment at an early age, we can say that their emotional development lags behind. What do I mean? It is precisely in this period that the little ones need the most a mother's love and caress, a father's protection, respect, attention, security and close relationships with their parents, encouragement, as well as their help. This helps children at an early age to discover new things in the world around them, to learn with desire, to perceive new information, to develop various skills. Parents are the ones who can most strongly influence the emotional development of their children. The family gives girls and boys the opportunity to develop their abilities, interests, helps their physical, emotional and mental development.

In kindergarten, girls and boys find themselves in a new world of a large number of children, which turns out to be hostile to them. The stronger and more aggressive children prevail over the others. Weaker people are afraid of them and have a hard time dealing with different situations, they feel rejected, unnecessary, unloved, and that's where their resentment comes from. Such children find it difficult to concentrate and hold their attention, show no interest in learning, focus their attention more on their feelings. Even if the best educational means and methods are used by the teachers, the best material base they have, they are the best paid, they are not able to work individually with so many children, to contribute to the development of the abilities of all, to replace the care, attention and love of parents; they cannot have proper relationships with children, discipline, since there are broken families, parents do not have time for their children or they are used to the state taking care of them.

I have visited homes for children deprived of parental care and I can say that there the girls and boys are most emotionally left behind. In 1989, I wrote the report "Stolen Joy" for Vazkhod newspaper. My meeting then with the children from the home in Malak Preslavets village, Tutrakan municipality was touching: "When I tried to speak to Asen, who was silent and closed, the others jealously surrounded me and started asking: Who are you coming for? What is your name? Where you live? They touched my bag, my camera, my clothes. A little girl grabbed my hand, squeezed, then tried to stroke her face and head with my palm. How can you not pet him? Do you want to cry? At the same time, another child grabbed my other hand, snuggled for a while, and then asked, "Aunty, who are you going to take to your home?"

I think: what are these children guilty of that they are so cruelly robbed of life? Why was their joy taken away? They long for caress, for affection, for a home hearth. "Auntie, take me to your place, I beg you!" - they say to those passing by the fence…"

In 2002 and 2003 I had visited the same home again to write about it. It struck me that the teachers did everything possible to socialize the children and diversify their daily lives, organized various activities, holidays, and held joint events with kindergartens. They worked on the kindergarten program. Graduates of the home had favorable living conditions, food, clothing. They lacked the most important thing – stimuli for their intellectual and social development, the relationship between parent and child.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Child Development found that preschool children's cortisol (a stress-related hormone) level rises in the afternoon, but drops immediately after the children come home. The same findings were made for 3-4 year old children. Cortisol levels rose the most in those children who were labeled by educators as "shy." According to Dr. Megan Tanner, these children experience an internal struggle in a group environment.

It turns out that kindergarten is not the best place for children because, as Dr. Benjamin Spock says, "there is not enough care and attention for them." Kindergarten is an educational service and therefore should be at the parents' choice, not mandatory. It's as if the state recognizes only the services of Fantastico stores, for example, and obliges us to buy goods there. To fine those who are not satisfied with the quality of some goods in them and have decided to start their own business in the field of trade or choose another store that suits their needs and taste. In fact, the toy allows the mother to start work whenever she chooses and no one can stop her from doing so. However, why should those parents be fined who are also looking for other opportunities for their children's education and have turned to alternative forms outside the state education system.

The fact that the child has not attended kindergarten for a long time cannot affect the achievements in school. The lack of competitiveness in education is one of the main reasons for the low success rate of students. State education is unable to provide the service that parents desire and that suits their own understandings and philosophies. Moreover, it cannot be qualitative if the teachers are not placed in the conditions of competition. If parents have the right to choose the type of education for their children, teachers will be motivated to work better, to improve their qualifications. The rulers ignore any alternatives outside the public education system. Rather, they are afraid of losing their power over education.

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