What Should we want from Preschool?

In Tobin’s article published in LA Times today, I was taken aback by the title, What Should we want from Preschool?

After President Obama’s SOTU speech earlier this month, revealing plans to move to birth-three the work of Head Start, so we can add rigor to the routines of 4 year olds, much debate will likely ensue. And, after attending a work session with Assistant US Secretary of Education, Deb Delisle last week, I am reminded, we KNOW what we should want from an improved preschool. Here are some of the “wants” steeped in research:

1. more access to learning for more 4 year olds-and in particular for poor kids
2. more learning care (vs. custodial care)
3. lots of social learning, teaming, cooperation, and character building
4. lots of letters, numbers, colors, music, physical eduction and coordination, other creative enterprises, and of course naps!
5. basics of vocabulary, holding books properly, age-appropriate technology, and single digit math workouts.

Some critics will make credible arguments on what to add to preschool. Others will make ridiculous arguments on what (if anything) to add to preschool. Tobin’s article provides some insights from China’s and Japan’s preschool practices to help shape the arguments. Link is as follows:


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