Transforming the Objective of Childhood Education
When thinking about the aim of early childhood education, being successful comes to mind. But looking at our kids, how do we define success? Many parents see good grades as a hallmark of success for their kids. Still, grades signify success because they have chances to get admitted to high-performing universities.
What is the point of spending heavily for what is essentially a piece of paper with the title “degree” on it? It is to get a high-paying job. But to what end? Is financial stability the end of the education of our kids? Is there more?
What makes kids happy in the long run?
Schools are gearing towards academic success in the right manner. But this seems to be their only goal. Have we considered what makes our kids happy aside from academic rigors and success?
Yes, parents want their kids to be happy. But research has shown, and as we have rightly observed at some intervals, that academic success is often interchanged with happiness.
In a certain school event in the US, some students were asked to raise their hand if they loved school, but none raised their hands.
A survey from Associated Press recently discovered that school is the most common source of stress amongst people ages 12-17. A certain Dr. Kate McReynolds, a therapist, shared her experience with a child she had helped. She said his parents kept the child in kindergarten and insisted she meets him weekly for therapy, despite her pleas that he only needed more time to play. In the months that followed, he became very unhappy. His attitude deteriorated, and he began to have nightmares and stomach aches.
“However, what stunned me was that no one in the room responded to this young boy’s unhappiness,” she said.
Academic-related success isn’t bad after all, but when it has been overemphasized, especially in our culture where parents enroll their kids in school even before they are mentally ready to “get ahead,” this is not ideal. A change, therefore, must take place.
Is college the right choice for every child?
Many good parents often push their kids academically to help them. But many students are not just school inclined, mentally and in all areas. It is so discomfiting. This would naturally make them struggle.
An option that is rarely introduced to students is attending a trade school instead of the four-year university trend. While four-year universities tend to land higher-paid jobs than trade schools, the latter can be a good option to bring stable financial incomes for students who prefer hands-on tasks.
Changing the definition of “success.”
Many early childhood education programs now offer a better approach to learners’ goals.
The Abecedarian project in North Carolina aims at a play-based learning environment for kids. Lumin Education in Dallas gives emotional and behavioral therapy to students who need extra support at school.
One organization’s efforts alone cannot change the focus of childhood education. Instead, this will require a continuous process of step-by-step progress toward reshaping the American educational system for the well-being of our kids.