There was increased discussion on this topic in many online forums recently after a piece by David Brooks ran in some big name newspapers. (They are all behind paywalls, so I’m not bothering to link to them.) . I have to say at the outset that I am a big admirer of David Brooks. I read his book, “The Road to Character” last year and it had a big impact on me. I’ve have linked to my review of the book.
However, on this topic I can only shake my head and wonder what he was thinking.
Based on what we know of how children learn and what children need most, it would be a terribly misguided move to place preschool children in front of a computer to learn in a structured environment – daily. Online preschool? Perfectly ghastly. Of course, the words that are never spoken in connection with preschool education is the underlying message: Preschool is better than parents. Let us raise them, rather than mom and dad. There is far more evidence that many children are harmed by the early separation from their parent(s).
Preschool children need to be outside playing, running, climbing and imagining. They need love and interaction with a parent. They need a good night of sleep, good nutrition and time to build, create, draw, dance, listen to music, and make a huge mess. They need a small group of playmates. They need down time and an abundance of unstructured time. They do not need to be placed deliberately in front of a glowing screen five days a week.
The idea of online preschool is terrible solution to a non-existent problem.