Academic-intensive preschool and kinder for low SES students... is there any research on this?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Aug 30, 2016

    Yesterday we were at our team lead meeting. One of the notes from the administration is that this year they support whatever homework we (or do not) send out, providing that any homework is focused on quality. Apparently there is a little group of parents at our school that is actively protesting homework and the admin wanted it to be known they support the homework policy or lack thereof of the teachers.

    One teacher was very adamant about sending out homework. She's a kinder teacher, and has the same group of parents protesting the kindergarten program as far too academically rigorous for young children (our school is known for having a pretty scholarly kindergarten).

    Her belief is that as our school has a high population of low SES students, this group of parents were failing to recognize that rigorous academics even at this early stage was these kids' hope out of poverty.

    We bantered that about for only a few minutes before moving on with the meeting, but it did get me curious.

    Based on the research I've seen, there's much good to say about a more play-based, less-academic preschool and kindergarten program. What I couldn't find was that if this changes when impoverished students are involved. Anyone known of any research either way? Only my curiosity is piqued now.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 30, 2016

    Most preschoolers and many kinders - of whatever SES - aren't cognitively ready to read, and unfortunately that's what "academically rigorous" tends to be translated into, mostly inappropriately. If I ran the universe, along with the standard reading of "play-based", I'd promote lots of hands-on experience of concepts plus oral vocabulary that these kids will be encountering one, two, or three years hence as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn: how in blazes are kids supposed to grasp texts in science and social studies when they've been kept so busy with reading that they haven't had a chance to lay foundations in cognition, experience, and oral vocabulary?? (And, yes, this is also the right approach for the kid who IS cognitively ready to read at the age, or for that matter who is already reading. I don't have citations, but I've been that kid and I've raised that kid.)
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Aug 30, 2016

    While I don't know the early childhood research that well, I do know that there's been plenty of research to show that homework in elementary (and thus ECE, too, I'd imagine) shows mostly no help or negative impact for students. It certainly seems as though focusing on social activities at home that allow them to be exposed to both academic concepts and social situations, as well as doing that basic reading, would be the key focuses...and so the same would be seemingly true of the classroom.
     
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  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 31, 2016

    I don't know of any research either, but low SES often need experiences to improve their foundation skills that are lower than most academic skills we see as homework. So, homework such as drawing/coloring, tracing, or other hand work would be a good skill to practice at home if allowed and they have the tools and support at home. Even learning to fold paper will help their motor skills.
    The other issue you have with sending homework home to low SES homes is the literacy of the adults at home. If they need to be able to read what is provided to do oral or listening activities with the child, those kids won't be able to do it. But if parents know even basic letter recognition can be done at home for homework with whatever is available can be helpful. These are the pre-academic things we want all parents to be doing with their kids. We all claim they help the kids, so those types of activities will surely help the low SES kids and can be free.
     
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  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Aug 31, 2016

    Check out the Head Start research. In general, it shows short-term gains in academic development, with those gains fading out after a few years. To me, this doesn't mean Head Start doesn't work, but it does mean it's not enough to translate into long-term gains without something else going on.
     
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