It is hardly news and cannot be denied that kindergarten education makes a fundament for successful functioning in the society, which then will be cemented in high schools and higher educational establishments. It is hardly possible to overestimate its importance and role in building up well-functioning society. The percentage of parents who choose to refrain from kindergartens is significantly low and decreases by day. Yet, there are problems in this area, and major ones, by the way.
First of all, there is a tendency to cut on funding. Not surprising – governments (as usual!) have better things to pay for than children and their education. Strictly speaking, kindergartens should be free as much as high schools, while in reality they often drain parent’s funds to the point. For some reason, this situation is common both in Europe and America, and has not been changed yet.
Another thing to mention is insufficient numbers of this kind of establishments (hence the prices probably) and consequential selection of candidates. While universities accept students on competitive basis, and rightly so, kindergartens are to provide education for EVERY single kid, and this is definitely not happening.
Another point to mention is admission age and the desire of certain parents to prevent their kids from starting a kindergarten for some vague reasons. While they claim to do it for their children to mature and grow more independent before they start, in fact it leads to unwanted delays. As for formal admission ages, they keep shifting back and forth causing confusion and misunderstanding. Even if it is impossible to reach an agreement as to when it is the best time to start, the standard should be set at least for all establishments of a single country. In reality we observe lack of regulation almost to the point that each kindergarten can set its own age requirements.
And what about the programs? This is an entire new level of issues. Despite vast research on this matter, tons of dissertations and books written in the area of early education, a single concept has not been developed. Due to serious fluctuation in children’s abilities and preparation, kindergarten programs have to be much more versatile and adaptable, while what we observe is complete lack of consistency on this matter. Somewhere kids undergo educational experiments, while in other cases they are obliged to move at a turtle’s pace without making much progress over years. It is sad, and even disastrous.
A thing to pay special attention to is testing applied to kids to identify whether they are ready to get started. As a matter of fact, testing is necessary to define particular abilities and inclinations of children, but it by no means should be the basis to refuse some of them. If a child has reached the specified age and proves to be a little bit lower in development than the others, then probably he needs a special program to master. By filtering out those who do not know, let’s say colors and numbers, we only deprive them from the chance to learn. Too often this kind of testing measures not potential but rather can-do’s at a certain moment. This approach is no doubt wrong and inappropriate in terms of educational equality.
In other words, while importance of kindergarten education cannot be stressed enough, its issues are not solved effectively, and if this situation does no change in near future, it threatens to seriously undermine academic (and social) success of the young generation. The problem should be addressed with due care and as soon as practicable.