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Frances Wisniewski - Universal Preschool Around The World

Universal Preschool
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.

In addition to being UP's Worldwide Ambassador, Fran is currently working on her "Fran's World" website and on e-books that will help foster a fun and natural approach to learning for all ages.

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.

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:

Find sites about Homeschooling around the world:

Articles About Natural Learning Around The World:

Working Mothers Around The World:

Updated: February 8, 2013