It's Called (Pre) School for a Reason: An Early Childhood Facilitator Says Many Have Forgotten the Meaning of the Word Preschool by Renée LaBossiere
When you see the word preschool what comes to mind? Many will agree it's a center for young children to attend and to learn, a place for early childhood education. Preschool should be exactly as it is written – BEFORE school, prior to school – but it seems as though many have lost the meaning of it.
A preschool should be a place where young children can go to enjoy their childhood while their parents are working. It should be a place where they feel safe and cared for, nurtured and guided, where they can play and explore their wonder and curiosity. If we want to refer to early childhood as a education, this is how kids learn. A place where trained ECE professionals understand the science and brain research of child development and can provide all of this for them. Not a place where academics are pushed. A place where these professionals can be the voice of our children and stand up for their rights to play.
Children are born to explore, discover and play. They learn better this way. It's not something that we should take away.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary preschool describes preschool as "of, relating to, or constituting the period in a child's life that ordinarily precedes attendance at elementary school."
When you look up the two words separately, pre and school, this is what you'll find:
When you look up early childhood education, it is the education of children from birth through age 8.
In my early years, when I was growing up, I played and learned when I was ready. Kindergarten was kindergarten – I learned while I played. When I was 6, turning 7, and in first grade, I learned to read. I'm sure that many from my generation would agree! When I think back to my elementary days, I even had the benefit of the same two teachers from third through fifth grade, which I realize now is a Waldorf practice. I was in a public school. Academics started in first grade, not in preschool!
Which brings me to the word academy. Why do I see some preschools still use academy in their center's name? Academy refers to academics. Academics should not even be thought of in early childhood centers. In my opinion, it's not even developmentally appropriate. Academics are for a little later in the ECE years, but not preschools. Preschools or early childhood centers should be left alone as they are meant to be – playschools.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts below.
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