Around The World
by: Frances Wisniewski
Meet Universal Preschool's Worldwide Ambassador, Frances Wisniewski! Fran stays up-to-date with how other countries are dealing with their educational issues and has agreed to report her findings as they pertain to government preschool programs here. She welcomes your help with this massive project. If you are aware of research, legislation, or other pertinent information on government universal preschool programs in other countries please E-mail her.
Ms. Wisniewski is a self-educated mom of three self-educated children ages 20, 11, and 5. She believes that childhood is the best time for exploring the world and that parents make the best guides.
The Push for Universal Preschool
Universal Preschool programs or government funded public preschools can be found in one form or another all over the world including: the United States, Canada, Columbia, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, the Middle East, Turkey, India, South Korea, Singapore, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Some countries, such as France, have offered public preschool programs since 1881, while others are just beginning to offer volunteer preschool programs for children (from birth to age 5). Some countries have made at least one year of preschool mandatory to get children ready for elementary school.
A number of countries (including the United States) have looked to France for answers to preschool structure and curriculum needs. France, it seems, has a reputation for having a very high quality of government funded early education programs.
In recent years, industrialized nations have publicized the advantages of universal preschools, however, conflicting reports in the world news media rebut the so-called "benefits" of preschool.
- Why is there a discrepancy?
- Why are so many countries starting public preschool programs?
- Just who is benefiting from these public preschool programs anyway?
- What is really happening in these countries as a result of what seems to be a "universal preschool epidemic?"
National Literacy Trust, publishes results from educational studies conducted in the United Kingdom, along with news articles concerning early childhood issues. There are many conflicting points of view.
One study says, "Daycare is just as good as being with mother" while another will claim, "Children of working mothers lag behind." What are parents to believe? With so many conflicting factors to consider, why are so many nations toying with young lives?
Through universal preschool programs, most countries are looking to lower poverty levels, reduce the crime rate, and raise literacy - all admirable goals.
In the United States, studies indicate that initial success in preschool programs is short lived. While young children who participate in preschool may show temporary literacy improvement in the early academic years of elementary school, by the 3rd or 4th grade there is no marked improvement or advantage, and in fact, there is a steady decline.
In direct opposition to the U.S. findings, France's preschool programs appear to provide lasting academic advantages. Curriculum and teacher qualifications have been identified as possible reasons for the discrepancies.
Within all of the studies that had "successful" findings one thing remained constant: when parents were fully engaged in their children's learning it yielded positive results. If parental involvement is the most important component to a child's academic and life success, why is there a worldwide push to provide public preschool programs where children will be removed from their parents' care, guidance, and influence for a large portion of their day?
Why institutionalize all children in public preschools, if only a small number (those that are poor and/or disadvantaged) will really see any positive gain? That's a question that needs to be answered before there is worldwide acceptance and participation in universal preschool programs.
The good news is that in almost every country that has some kind of universal preschool program, there is also a homeschooling movement gaining ground! Parents are actively participating in the education of their young children - and as the studies show, that is the foremost determining factor in a child's academic success.
For further information on Universal Preschool in other countries please see:
Interesting Preschool Research Sites (by Country):
Literacy Trust's site contains a lot of studies compiled into one site, pick and choose what you would like to learn more about:
World News About Pre-school Programs:
- Preschool for all? No thanks
- Parents without perks
- Preschoolers' Ritalin Set for Approval Despite Concerns
- Kindergarten free-for-all under Liberals' preschool plan
- Home Education Association
- Preschool Education in Australia
Scroll Down the page to view the article on Serbia. (Note: This site promotes government preschooling and a more standardized curriculum-based approach to learning, but the info on preschool in other countries is arresting.)
- Putin Offers Women Cash For Babies
- Much Too Early by David Elkind
- In France, have six kids and ride the rails at a 75% discount. How government can boost birth rates.
- Crackdown on Homeschoolers: It's the UN Wot Done It
In Belgium, homeschoolers must sign a document in which they promise to rear their children according to the UN Convention on Children's Rights. Read what happens when they refuse.
- Preschool Education in China
- Children in home schooling face problems
- Independent teaching finds favour among expats
- Germany Drags Kids to Class
Achtung! German police are dragging homeschooled children back to school! Desperate parents risk jail time to homeschool even though US parents send their babies to school willingly.
- All outdoors, all the time
Germany's 'forest kindergartens' grow in popularity with families who want their children to have a direct link with nature
- German town promotes child care, sees baby boom
- Germany to Reform Pre-School Education
At the end of the article you can answer the question: Do you agree that children should learn more at kindergarten? Please include your name and country in your reply.
- In India, playtime ends early for preschool hopefuls
Maybe things won't get this extreme in the U.S. but it is up to us to make sure of it.
- Italian women shun 'mamma' role
- Reggio Emilia: A New Way of Seeing Children
- Italy (Italia) Homeschooling
- How low can Japan go?
A multimillion-dollar boom in preschool English tuition is exposing a rift between parents and state educators wary about adding more English to the primary curriculum,
- Latin America and the Caribbean:
- Leading the Developing World in Preschool Education
- Doing Away with Disparities
- Cramming Them In: More Latin Americans are being educated, but not well
- Creating Child Centered Schools in Malaysia
This PDF is a quartly programmatic report provided by the government.
- New Zealand:
- Switerland Daycare/Preschool News:
- Swiss Parliament backs funds for much-needed crèches
- Swiss Working mothers face childcare shortage
- No day care for 120,000 toddlers
Older and well-educated mothers are the most likely to take advantage of childcare services.
- United Kingdom:
- 19 Minutes - how long working parents give their children
- Scotland's parents protest nursery school reform
- Free nursery scheme could be bad for young children, says study
- Toddler curriculum criticised by European education expert
- Concerns over pre-school expansion
- Childcare system 'worst of all worlds'
Sad news for Australian 4 yr olds
It seems that Australian's are being fed the same information about "quality" education for pre-school aged children that the US is getting. More and more Aussie parents believe that young children need to be taught earlier in order to succeed in school.
This is truly sad for everyone.
More money is being spent and children are being taken from the parents that love them earlier and earlier in the interest of giving them a "good" education. What could be better than a parent's love?
The truly sad part is that a parent will fight very hard to give their child a "quality" education by demanding stricter guidelines and teachers with a higher education to encourage that quality. The results are children who are ripped from their parents and put into a strange and scary place where they feel unloved and unprotected. Parents speak out about the need to have children succeed in school, but do they realize that that success is at the expense of a childhood rich with security, natural learning experiences and love?
Governments are ready to comply because it means more tax money collected by working parents. But do the governments realize that the very thing they are after is the very thing they will lose when the birth rates go down due to parents having to make a decision to have more children or work to maintain a lifestyle?
Are lower birthrates a coincidence or a product of too much education that encourage careers rather than families?
Find sites about Homeschooling around the world:
- Homeschooling in Australia
- Homeschooling in Canada
- Homeschooling in Sweden
- Homeschooling in Taiwan
- United Kingdom
- Homeschooling/Alternative Learning Around the World
- Mass Education for All
Articles About Natural Learning Around The World:
Working Mothers Around The World:
- The Future of Children
- Early Childhood Programs in Other Nations: Goals and Outcomes (pdf format of the above study)
- Policy Analysis: The Advancing Nanny State: Why the Government Should Stay Out of Child Care
- Educational Research
- EPPE: The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education
Updated: February 8, 2013