The Instigator
Jumpthethird
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Evalasting
Con (against)
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Early Childhood Education

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,995 times Debate No: 23691
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Jumpthethird

Pro

You may have a child or hear about a child from a friend who is around three years old and is described as behaving badly. Some children act out and may be in need for a different environment apart from the home. When thinking about a place to put the child a daycare may come to mind, however a smarter option is a preschool program.While early childhood education is not mandatory, it is very beneficial to children. Preschool, such as a Head start Program, provides a child with early socialization skills along with an educational framework. This program also exposes the child to be observed by professionals who may see developmental problems that leads to early intervention; i.e finding the appropriate help for the child.
A child is exposed to a classroom environment where through the interaction with two teachers and other children, they are taught early socialization. Children interacting with other children enhances their interaction skills and creates formative environment where children can learn how to behave and express themselves. Being in a classroom setting tackles separation anxiety a child may feel being apart from their parent(s) and home. Children who participate in a Head Start deal with this better because they have been exposed early on to being away from their parents. This makes the transition to kindergarten easier for the child.
Children are introduced to a educational framework through the curriculum Head Start utilizes, which is the Creative Curriculum. The Creative Curriculum is based around the child's interests and responses to teacher planned lessons. This curriculum tends to focus needs towards children who are dual language learners as well as children with disabilities. Children exposed to this curriculum benefit from a planned day with lessons that are geared towards a region of developing basic skills children will need.
The Head Start program is also geared to providing aid to children who may be found with developmental problems. Speech evaluations are conducted after a teacher puts in a request once observing the problem within class. Children are also evaluated for IEP's, Individual Education Plan's where special education may be necessary to progress a child who may have problems developing. Special Education Itinerant Teacher's or SEIT's, may be assigned to children who require cognitive development, socialization skills, or other services. This teacher travels to the student and spends a set amount of hours acting as the child's individual teacher. Early educational programs are especially important in this area because they catch problems early with the child and provide the resources to providing services as soon as a child is found in need of them.
These three examples are only a few of the various reasons for how early childhood education is beneficial to a child. A program such as Head Starts provides a child with an early edge to their educational growth, and social development.
Evalasting

Con

I accept the debate challenge. But before I present an argument, will you please be more clear about the issue we will be debating?
Debate Round No. 1
Jumpthethird

Pro

I apologize for not being specific. The arguement is that there is no real requirement for education before kindergarten in New York. I propose that while early childhod education isn't a mandate, it really is in the child's best interest to be placed in a Universal Pre-Kindergarten or a Head Start Program. Their participation in this early education can only be beneficial to a child's development.
As mentioned in my opening statement, a child who participates in a program like this can be benefited in the following ways:
- A child may be observed by professionals who may see developmental problems which leads to early intervention; i.e finding the appropriate help for the child.
- Early exposure to a classroom setting helps a child develop early socializaton skills.
- Children are exposed to concepts they will learn in Kindergarten, which is beneficial because it provides an educational framework.
Evalasting

Con

The choice for whether or not a child goes to pre-kindergarden (or a comparable program such as head start) should remain the parents choice. Pre-k is only one of the many options parents have available to socialize and educate their children, but that doesn't necessarily make it the right one, as those type of programs also come with their pitfalls. Some of those pitfalls are: learning undesirable/unwanted behaviors from their peers & conformity. Not to mention that putting children into school too early can also take away from the time a parent has to bond with their child, thus potentially negatively affecting family attachment.

It should remain the parents right to evaluate the pro's and con's of their options and utilize what they may feel is proper for their child according to their child's needs.
Debate Round No. 2
Jumpthethird

Pro

I can see your point regarding a parent's choice, however you should consider the parent's who work and may need to place their child in something during the hours they work, instead of just sending a child to head start would'nt you agree a Head Start, or any type of early education would be the better, more beneficial choice?

You mentioned a pitfall being a child may learn undesirable/unwanted behaviors from their peers - while this could be a possibility, teachers and parents within a Head Start program are in constant communication, there is also a Health Coordinator who goes in to observe the children screening children who need a different enviornment be placed accordingly. The unwanted/undesireable behaviors from their peers would be what exactly? Please clarify what three and four year olds would be doing that would be to such an extreme?
Also what do you mean by conformity? These children are in classroom settings with two adults, a teacher and assistant teacher... this is mimicking the classroom they will be in once attending kindergarten.
Can you provide factual backing to your arguement of a child participaitng in early education negatively impacts the family bond? The entire purpose of a Head Start Program, for example was created to help families (not just children) who were of low income areas to advance themselves. The program always invites parents to volunteer and contains many programs throughout the year to bring parents and their children together.
Evalasting

Con

To respond to your argument. I didn't say that the participation of early childhood education negatively impacts the family bond. My words were "putting children into school too early can also take away from the time a parent has to bond with their child, thus potentially negatively affecting family attachment." The key point there is that the time the child has to spend with his/her family is being lessened and therefore it could produce negative affects (since the time for bonding is being reduced). Bonding time with the family is important, especially within the first few years of development. Kindergarten was put into effect in order to prepare children for school. And now there are preparation programs for the preparation program put into place by our government. The problem isn't with children needing to enter school earlier. The problem is with the quality of education being given to children. Even if a child enters a quality preschool program, that doesn't necessarily mean the effects will last, as some research is showing. The children who benefit from the programs are more than likely end up in high poverty schools afterwards, and after a few years, there is no real difference between them and their peers. There is also the fact that they are being exposed even earlier to the mannerisms of other kids, like cursing, & other forms of aggressive behaviors, which parents who aren't teaching this to their kids, find undesirable. While pre-schools can be a place to for a child to learn to socialize (for those who havent already done so), there is also the matter that they are learning to comply. Individuality is put to the side and the needs of collective group is put first. Given, this is a necessary skill. But why deprive a child of of a little more time to develop their own character, so that they can learn a skill that they will eventually pick up once they begin their formal education anyway (assuming they aren't already being taught this at home)? On top of all this, there is also the growing concern of parents that children are being over diagnosed (ie. ADHD, ODD, etc.) and over-prescribed at younger ages now. Considering all of these factors, is it really in the best interest of a child to place him or her in pre-kindergarten or head start when the effects seem to fade out after a couple of years and the benefits may not always outweigh the costs?

Instead of providing approximately 8.1 billion dollars of public funding for preparation programs such as Head Start (whose benefits are questionable), would't it be wiser to use the public funding to improve upon the system which is already in place?

http://berkeley.edu...... & http://sitemaker.umich.edu......
http://www.newamerica.net......
http://tulsainitiative.wordpress.com......
http://www.newsnet5.com......
Debate Round No. 3
Jumpthethird

Pro

While you may think the problem isn't with children needing to enter school earlier, it most certainly is. Children entering school earlier allow for their minds to absorb information and be exposed to a setting besides their home. In preschool they are now learning the basics in order to stay ahead in Kindergarden. According to Wade F. Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the Department of Health and Human Services, the rationale is simple: from kindergarten on, literacy and numeracy are the essence of what school is about, so it's vital to focus on letters and numbers in preschool (New York Times, "All My Children").

In addition, a Head Start utilizes the Creative Curriculum, an innovative approach that focuses on a child's interests leading the class, this is also supported in the New York Times article, "All My Children" in the following excerpt: "...small children learn mainly from interacting and not passive listening, understanding and not memorizing, reading for fun and not simply decoding. "The good news," says Deborah Stipek, dean of the School of Education at Stanford University, "is that children can be taught basic academic skills - fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics - in a way that uses, rather than destroys, their natural desire to learn. Vocabulary can be taught by conversation, awareness of print developed through reading and talking about books and mathematics learned with games like a pretend restaurant." This article did not mention the creative curriculum, however demonstrated that a child learns through their interests, which is what an early childhood education program like Head Start utilizes in their forming of a curriculum. Your argument that the quality of education is at stake makes a great point, but this isn't the focus of the debate, the point is that early education exposure to children is beneficial and is a better alternative to child care (daycare).

Your argument for conformity lacks any real substance. Parents teaching their children at home manners and rules are teaching their children to conform as well if you really want to use that argument.

The growing concern of parents that children are being over diagnosed (ie. ADHD, ODD, etc.) and over-prescribed is a valid and serious point in a child participating in early education, however it is not easy to diagnose. A program such as Head Start has a protocol in ensuring a child is diagnosed correctly which includes an observation by a teacher, which then alerts a health coordinator. The health coordinator then writes a refferal for a third party to observe the child and assess them via tests to see where the child is at developmentally. In order for a child to recieve any type of diagnosis the parents must be informed and consent to actually going to a doctor if there is an actual problem found. At the end of all of this, a parent has the final decision. If a parent suspects foul play or over diagnosis, they have all the rights to demand the process to be done again. While your point is well taken, the parents have the most important role in their consent to these services. Your point also makes me reinforce my previous point that a program such as Head Start is so useful in a child's development because there are protocols in assessing if a child has developmental problems and can save a child from dealing with having a label in Kindergarten when there not two adults in the classroom or a small setting to observe children in.
Evalasting

Con

"While you may think the problem isn't with children needing to enter school earlier, it most certainly is. Children entering school earlier allow for their minds to absorb information and be exposed to a setting besides their home."

-If the need for earlier education is the problem, as you say, why then, does attending Head Start have no real lasting effect? "According to the Head Start Impact Study, which was quite comprehensive, the positive effects of the program were minimal and vanished by the end of first grade. Head Start graduates performed about the same as students of similar income and social status who were not part of the program. These results were so shocking that the HHS team sat on them for several years, according to Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution"(Joe Klein, http://www.time.com...).
The U.C. Berkley Stanford team that conducted a study that studied the effects of preschool on kids nationwide and concluded: "...But the UC Berkeley-Stanford team says it is bad news that universal access would not likely close early learning gaps. "The magnitude of benefits for poor children is simply insufficient to catch up," the report says. "Instead, extending free preschool to all children - certainly a well-intentioned goal - threatens to simply reinforce disparities in early learning until resources are more carefully targeted on low-income communities.""
Kindergarten was implemented to help children with the transition from home to school. Obviously, its not quantity (longer and earlier times for children go to school), but quality, the issue.
If we go by my opponents rationale, we will soon need a program to prepare kids for Pre-K.

And yes, you are right. Children also learn some conformity at home. But to say that it is at the the same extent as in a public education system (such as preschool), where the child to teacher ratio is 12 to 1 for 4 year olds & 10:1 for 3 year olds (http://www.childcareinc.org...) compared to the average american family size of 2 kids per household (http://www.census.gov...), seems a bit exaggerated. Children can get more focused attention at home (since there are usually less kids to compete with) as well as more time to explore on their own and figure stuff out.

"Your argument that the quality of education is at stake makes a great point, but this isn't the focus of the debate, the point is that early education exposure to children is beneficial and is a better alternative to child care (daycare)."
-As far as this goes, my opponent was not as clear earlier when it was asked that they be more specific, therefore, leaving it safe to assume the many aspects involved, which matter, could be addressed.
Debate Round No. 4
Jumpthethird

Pro

In conclusion, I feel that when faced with the choice of having to place your child into care for a number of hours, the smarter choice would be a early childhood institution. Exposing a child to a structured, educational environment provides them with social skills and early intervention if problems are detected. While my opponent may not recognize the benefits of such programs like a Head Start, the point is that if a child is introduced early to education they are better prepared for kindergarten. The effects of a head start do wear out eventually, as my opponent has pointed out - but in reality all they teach children is the alphabet, basic numbers, how to socialize with other children, and basic information (days of the week, months). During preschool they are learning basic information, one doesn't expect the children to walk out of the program learning concepts to apply to chemistry, that's not the point of the program. The program simply provides early education to a child based off of what interests them. Head Start provides preparation, specifically in a finding (http://www.srcd.org...) points out the pre-reading readiness established by Head Start.
http://www.nhsa.org...
http://www.srcd.org...
Evalasting

Con

If my opponent wanted to argue that preschool is a better option than daycare, my opponent should have made that clear from the beginning. Being that they kept the topic general, and didn't introduce the daycare aspect of the argument until the third round, preschool vs daycare wasn't the main point we were arguing. The argument was centered on preschools usefulness (with head start being the prime example). Therefore, according to the general guidelines set from the beginning, I conclude that since kindergarten is already in place to do what preschool programs are designed to do (preparing kids for school and assuming this isnt already happening at home), why force kids to learn earlier what they are already required to learn in the following year by saying it will be useful when they'll have to go through the same stuff again in kindergarten? In essence, you're saying "let's teach kids things they will have to repeat next year", which is redundant, impractical, unnecessary for the child and in cases like Head Start, a waste of government funding.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by MouthWash 2 years ago
MouthWash
Too bad I wasn't debating Pro. Being schooled at early ages does the opposite, making kids less social and interfering with their development. The myth of "compulsory schooling" needs to be eradicated.
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