Trained Parents Have Better Effect on Children Than Universal Preschool

By Fukunaga, Cathy | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, January 27, 2013 | Go to article overview

Trained Parents Have Better Effect on Children Than Universal Preschool


Fukunaga, Cathy, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


Preschool is a privilege, not an entitlement.

The plans being set in motion to promote state funded preschool are not designed to succeed.

Pre-kindergarten will only produce lasting change when it is offered to disadvantaged families willing to invest their labor so the child is prepared for school, and the family is invested in and able to support the child's growth.

Research confirms pre-K boosts scores initially but, sadly, benefits do not last beyond early school years.

Edward Zigler, a founder of Head Start, confirmed family and life experiences have far greater impact than school. Several studies of successful pre-K programs show each involved significant family interaction with the school.

Supporting pre-K is politically, not research-, based. Politicians want to say they support education for children, but their rhetoric extrapolates results from successful programs, hoping Hawaii will have the same results without the same family investment.

A burgeoning market for products like Baby Einstein, Your Baby Can Read and Hooked on Phonics recognizes that young children's brains develop through stimulation. Some parents know this instinctively, providing stimulation through conversation, play and reading books.

Unfortunately, this does not come naturally to all parents. Some do all they can to put bread on the table. Parents in dysfunctional families do not know how to care for themselves, let alone the high needs of a child.

Children's minds are malleable. Adults are responsible to ensure they are positively influenced.

Perceptions formed in childhood about self, others and the world shape children's future life choices.

My experience working with women in prison indicated the negative childhood messages that they received shaped who they became and their choices.

Children spending hours in front of a TV or enduring tension and harsh words in a family struggling to cope will develop different perceptions of themselves than children whose parents play, read and talk with them. …

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