St. Lucy's Priory High School

Kids are starting school too soon

Early childhood education is essential for the development and success of an individual. Without it, one would lack major life skills and the necessary tools that are required in any career field.

However, American society in particular is squandering away today’s youth by enrolling children in school too early.

Educational excellence has become the expected norm, and with that a child’s most innocent years are now spent behind a desk instead of discovering the outside world and simply enjoying youth.

Because of this unneeded but fierce competitiveness to be the best pupil, it has become the norm for parents to place their child in preschool programs as young as the age of 2.

Just a few years ago, the standard age to enroll was 4 years old, yet preschools are pushing age requirements back in order to please parents that are under the false notion that starting earlier will get their child ahead.

While preschool is not required by law, a stigma has formed that by not placing a child in preschool, parents are dooming their child’s potential.

Forgoing preschool comes with unruly judgement from educators as well as parents.

One parent shared their child’s negative preschool experience with the Huffington Post, stating “Preschool is day care by another name, but people feel that they have to do this stuff, or their kids will somehow miss a shot at getting into Harvard.”

Many schools are now offering TK programs, also known as transitional kindergarten. Instead of following the traditional path of preschool to kindergarten, there is now an additional school program that is placed in between.

According to the L.A. School District, TK programs “build a bridge” between preschool and traditional kindergarten.

Because the common core standards of kindergarten have advanced rapidly in recent years, parents are now seeking even more education programs for children.

At the start of the 2015 school year, select schools began offering a transitional kindergarten Expansion Program (TK-Ex) for younger children. The L.A. school district website claimed that many parents are “aware that their child may not be ready for the traditional Kindergarten program.”

At this rate, it will soon become standard for children to complete three separate academic programs before the age of 6, the average kindergarten starting age. This amount of schooling is truly excessive and shows no increase in academic performance as a whole.

Finland, a small neighboring country of Sweden, does not start school for children until the age of 7. While this system may seem foreign to Americans, Finland is ranked the No. 1 education system in the world, outperforming American students in reading, science, and math since 2000.

–Caitlyn Moore