Miseducation: Preschoolers At Risk Book Review

This book warns of the danger of subscribing your child to the preschool programs which promises to develop your child’s fullest potential both physically and academically. Like many young parents, I too succumbed to such advertising gimmicks and peer pressure seeing how other kids outperformed my own. I lost my vision of wanting a childhood for my child, convincing myself that what I was doing wouldn’t rob them too much of whatever playtime I have since I am very time strapped myself. Thankfully, by a stroke of luck, I chanced upon the Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education which brought me back to my roots. Thankfully I had not done any damage to my sons yet. It was due to this that my research brought me to this book.

I believed in what the author wrote about children having an innate ability to learn through play. I can attest to this. Let me quote an example:

For the past 2 months or so, I read extensively how parents taught their children to read and solve mathematical problems. I read on the Montessori method and the Glenn Doman method. I aimed to incorporate these techniques in my daily activities with XXM.

One day, I sat down with him with the intention of teaching him sorting. I read about how many parents prepare materials for their children, laminated pictures etc. I had no time to prepare. I took a set of his construction sets and attempted to show my XXM what is sorting. I have never done this exercise with him before, neither my mil or maid. I grouped pieces of the same shapes together and presented three sets before him. Then I passed him a piece and asked him which set that piece belongs to. To my surprise he was able to place it in the correct group. I repeated the experiment this time by grouping objects with the same colours together. He wasn’t able to identify colours sorting that well. Nonetheless I was impressed. This experience showed me that certain concepts needn’t be taught and babies do not need to follow a curriculum. They have the ability to learn by themselves.

Concerns with Miseducation

1. Many pre-first-grade children are subjected to rigid formal prereading programs with inappropriate expectations and experiences for their level of development.

2. Little attention is given to individual development and individual learning styles.

3. The pressures of accelerated programs do not allow children to be risk takers as they experiment with language and internalize concepts about how language operates.

4. Too much attention is focused upon isolated skill development or abstract parts of the reading process, rather than upon the integration of oral language, writing and listening with writing.

5. Too little attention is placed upon reqding for pleasure; therefore children do not associate reading with enjoyment.

Early education miseducates, not because it attempts to teach, but because it attempts to teach the wrong things at the wrong time. When we ignore what the child has to learn an instead impose what we want to teach, we put infants and young children at risk for no purpose.

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