The NEGATIVE effect of too much too soon

Written by WHPS Preschool Directors on .

The article below addresses a recent longitudinal study that is getting a lot of attention. The study affirms many of our core beliefs about quality Early Childhood Education. Here are six of the top evidence-based practices families should look for in a quality preschool

Some new research was recently published that has had early childhood educators buzzing. For many of us, it reaffirmed what we already know about quality Early Childhood Education (ECE). For policy makers, it calls into question recent efforts to push more three and four-year-olds into elementary schools. Essentially, it demonstrated short term gains for overly academic ECE programs, which diminished by the end of elementary school. The research strongly points to the long-term benefits of developmental, play-based Pre-K over heavily structured worksheet-driven programs. 

"A statewide public Pre-K program, taught by licensed teachers, housed in public schools, had a measurable and statistically significant negative effect on the children in this study."

Why is PLAY so important for preschool aged children? Research has shown us that preschool aged children learn best through play and exploration.  Play with a purpose.  Play that allows children to discover concepts through hands-on activities that ignite all of their senses. Outdoor experiences that last longer than elementary school recess.  This is the type of learning that young brains are receptive to.  

As a parent, it’s difficult to know how to best prepare your child for the inevitable transition into kindergarten. Is it best to have a school day that resembles kindergarten, or should there be more time for play and overall social emotional development?  Which way better prepares young children for school-age learning? The study done in Tennessee public schools highlights why putting too much pressure on children in Pre-K programs does not always lead to higher success rates in the future.

Quality play-based preschool programs do not exclude children from learning literacy, math, and science. The way in which play-based curriculum is structured and presented embraces all developmental areas that quite literally builds the brain through its design. This is a timely reminder of the neuroscience that supports creating joyful, meaningful, enriched, and socially interactive experiences as part of a high quality ECE program.

Note: This is one of the reasons WHPS uses a comprehensive research-based developmental screening with all our applicants for TK and K. We take the decision about each child's placement quite seriously and work with each family on determining the best path and trajectory. If families have any questions about the best path for your child's success, please feel free to speak with our Preschool Directors or Elementary Principal.

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