David Elkind's new book is designed to help parents avoid the miseducation of young children that is on the increase today.
Across the country in schools and in homes educational programs intended for school-age children are being misappropriated for the instruction of preschoolers. Books, lectures, and the media propagate the idea that only a superkid can grow up to compete successfully in the adult world thereby encouraging parents to teach infants and young children academic and athletic skills. Yet, there is considerable evidence that early instruction can do lasting harm that young children subjected to this kind of pressure are, in fact, at psychological and physical risk.
Dr. Elkind shows us the very real difference between the mind of a preschool child (how it works) and that of a school-age child. He makes clear how much young children can and do learn when they are presented with developmentally appropriate parenting practices and education. He shows us how healthy education supports and encourages the spontaneous learning process through which young children explore and understand their immediate world, and how miseducation ignores it, attempting to teach the wrong things at the wrong time. And, in turn, we see how early miseducation can cause permanent damage to a child's self-esteem, the loss of the positive attitude a child needs for learning the blocking of natural gifts and potential talents.
Finally, Dr. Elkind discusses what parents should look for when deciding upon the initial stages of their children's education and what preschool programs are the most considerate of the individual child. In a special section, he answers the most common questions he's heard from parents.
About the Author
David Elkind, who received his Ph.D. in psychology at UCLA, was a longtime professor of Child Study at Tufts University and Senior Resident Scholar at the Lincoln-Filene Center. He is also the author of numerous books, including The Hurried Child and All Grown Up and No Place to Go.