Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Response to Bob Anderson’s “Child Care” Op Ed
My first response to Mr. Anderson’s (recent) Op Ed was anger, then extreme sadness. Early childhood education is not about day care: it is about education. I do not know where he did his research, but it was not well done. Being a person of such power locally, he has an obligation to his constituents to present an educated response. At least talk about learning and the young child with some factual knowledge.
The child’s experience before the age of four or five sets the foundation for 80% of their learning. If you have grandchildren, you know how eager they are to learn.
Some forty-five years ago, I was a co-founder of Community Montessori School in Lexington, Kentucky. I would like to share experiences about my students, starting as young as three. We had at least twenty students from families from India over the fifteen years I taught there. Many of their parents were on faculty at the University of Kentucky. These Indian children knew all of their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts by age four. This is a time when a child can most easily learn this material.
Often, when these children were five, they would ask me to guide them through the language program. Within six months, some would master all of the first, second and third grade language curriculum.
As for Mr. Anderson’s concern about child day-care workers, they would rather be skilled child teachers with more to offer children. There would be more job opportunities, not less.
He is right about us losing ground in education. It is because we have not learned from other systems around the world, or kept up with the times. This is the time to think clearly about what steps to take in South Carolina education and be sure we are going forward and not backward.
When a child does not have early learning opportunities, it takes years — decades — to catch up: I speak from my personal experience.
JoAnn M. Stickler