The Adventures of a Boy with Sand in his Shoes, Failure at the Top In Public School Education

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How I wish I had tried a different way, a gentler way. Thank you so much for sharing! Oh the tears are running—Im so glad to see people post things like this—my grandson has many issues and for the last 2 years of his 4 years.. My daughter is awesome with my grandson and looking continually for ways to deal with him better and more effectively to help him go through his days easier and better—and I am glad there are resources and people like you who will post!!

Children are a blessing given to us…. Thank you so much for this post! My 6 year old was an angry child for several years and still has episodes at times. Partly it was adjusting to a new family dynamic when I married his stepfather but a lot of it is because he has sensory processing disorder and struggles with social interactions that seem to come naturally to most kids. No amount of yelling, punishing, or even spanking helped to stop his angry outbursts and tantrums, in fact it typically made things worse. What we found helped the most was to acknowledge his feelings and accept them whIle giving him space to calm down.

Then when he was calm we could talk about why he felt as he did and talk about strategies he could use to control his reactions a little better. Thank you for sharing this. I can totally relate. I am from the medical field and i have an only son who s almost 8 years old now. I believe i have been raising him with my dedicated husband in a very loving and nurturing well balanced environment where dicipline and order are also part of the picture. That is until the temper outbursts way past the terrible twos became more frequent and affected how he relates in school and palymates.

I atarted to doubt my prenting style and we went through all the enumerated management style above and still we ended up frustrated and angry at ourselves. I had him assessesed by a development pediatrician and was diagnosed to have adhd with asd. We went through regular OT sessions as well as 1 is to 1 afterschool enhancement programs. I feel that my son has oppositional defiant disorder rather than ASD. But the management with OT and environmental modification has so far brought positive effects.

My son can now manage his anger but sometimes we need to walk him through to help him process the situations. He still has occasional outbursts and as we all are, he is still a work in progess. However, I also disagree with all of these diagnoses for children. Maybe, just maybe, this is just how your kid is. I feel sorry for his teachers.

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I was recently reading a different website and a parent asked for discipline advice. I was horrified at the responses suggesting spanking and the ugliness directed at the parent and child. I guess I have been living in a bubble. If these are the sort of responses you have been dealing with I am truely sorry. Thank you for sharing your story and these resources. I have an angry child too. He reminds me very much of my husband, because he, too, can be very loudly angry at times. I am a VERY laid back person, so the outbursts shock my system, but I am becoming more and more familiar with ways to calm him.

I have followed your Pinterest board and I will browse through it when I need more resources. You are so right! There is always an underlying root cause to behavior because behavior is simply communication. Why resort to physical violence when you can fix the underlying issues! Brain Balance Centers across the country are working kids just like your son and having tremendous results with sensory integration, and learning and behavioral challenges brought on by developmental delays.

Check them out: we BrainBalanceCenters. Your son sounds exactly like my 9 year old son!! I am a teacher and I too have tried all the teacher tricks and the parent tricks, including spanking. I get so frustrated that every single day brings the anger and I feel so helpless. Often I want to throw up my hands and run. I wish everyone I knew could read this and understand it.

Wonderful post. Like a one stop solution for all kids. It may also help to understand that very angry children are often very intense children temperamentally. But anger itself is also a signal for an unsolved problem about which the child believes there is injustice. Often the anger, once acknowledged in this way dissipates quite quickly. The other aspect of it is self-regulation and making not imposing an agreement with the child that they will work on it. That element is often missing too because we compound the injustice by imposing our solution to the problem.

For example you could make a sliding scale like a ruler and put it on the fridge and ask the child if the issue about which they have such strong feelings is a In a previous discussion 10 would be defined as the loss of parents, then 9 is loss of siblings, 8 loss of grandparents and one could then look at their outburst being understandable it that was the case.

One can also use concentric circles with the centre one being the worst thing that could happen to them getting progressively less serious and intense as new circles are drawn around the first. But not being able to find a missing toy may not be up there as a ten or very close tot he centre of thecircle and they can be encouraged to use a fridge magnet to show where the missing toy would be on the 10 point ruler or on a set of circles on the fridge. Then what would be the appropriate response for that number given the response for losing a parent or sibling or grandparent is the intense one that they are displaying.

Love that method of helping a child quantify and rationalise what they are feeling in a visual way. It seems like a simple but powerful tool that a young child could use to face their inner storm. Thank you, Herb. Thank you for this! Here I am trained as a special education teacher who had the behavior classrooms!! Look forward to reading more of your work!

It allowed my husband and I to understand the behaviour, once you understand the behaviour it is always easier to deal with. My husband and I have come to realize that we have our own sensory issues that we have learned to cope with. I, too, would like to thank you for this post. You see, I have a g-son, that was in 1st grade, that was really hyper and I am sure people in public places have said among themselves that he needed his butt tore up. I have probably said it a time or two myself, but then we found out he had ADHD and was put on medication for it.

I said that to say this, if I have made the comment about spanking a child because that was what we got, please forgive me. Had they known about all the different causes for a child acting the way they did or not Learning the way they should, maybe my dad could have gotten the help he may have needed to continue in school.

So I do feel for your struggle, but more, I feel for your precious little boy, what he has had to endure his 9 short years of his life. I say these things with tears running down my face and hopefully I think before I post on anything any more! I just wanted to say thank you. Because you get it. And you know what it is like. I actually cried when I read this tonight. Omg that was so well put and I truly took it to heart because my 9 son has this also along with a lot of other issues and I struggle too. At only a few months old I knew — I too have tried everything and nothing but understanding him works.

I have had to learn and grow thought the past 5 years and it has changed my life. HA My son has showed me. It gives in site and help with SPD. Have you consultated an OT they are amazing and can do wonderful things for children suffering with SPD. Sorry for your hardship, may you be strong. Sitting here in far away Denmark, reading this post all the comments on it, I am continually amazed that wether or not to spank a child is even a thing to consider! In my wiev spanking is never an option. How can we teach our children that violence is wrong, if it is rutinely used on them?

When will the world learn that communication is the way to go? Sure there are some children and adults who find it harder to communicate, specially when it comes to their feelings, but that is no excuse to stop trying.

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There is no going back, you will be forced on to the next step. Think about that for a while! I would rather seek other avenues and continue to learn and grow as a parent and a person, and thereby set good examples for my child. I am glad to say, that parental spanking has been illegal in Denmark since Thank you for having the courage to write this post and taking up such a difficult subject.

Thank you for this. After a particularly tough time with our 5 year old this week I finally read something that hits the nail on the head. I completely understand. I work for a boy who has SPD. He has meltdowns that are uncontrollable. However we have learned so many techniques to help that most days as long as his schedule is routine he does very well.

It comes off rude and people expect me to do something about it. Calling her out for being rude only makes matters worse. Its hard for others to understand. Routine is very important for her as well. Nothing out of the norm and no knowing plans to far in advance or she panics about it and stresses about it happening.

  • Kindergarten Readiness: 71 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten.
  • Effective Supply Management Performance (ISM Professional Series Book 2).
  • The Overprotected Kid.

I pray that people learn more about SPD — but there are so many different aspects and it effects each child and adult differently. Both raised the same, but completely different. As a baby she would scream if I put certain clothes on her, I just though she was hot. As a baby patting her back softly would excite her instead of calming her. The feeling of sand brought anxiety if she touched it.

We just thought she was quirky. To make a long story short we have had change our views of parenting her. We have to let her know in advance about daily errands so she can prepare. To an outsider it may seem like she runs the show but the truth is we are in control but guiding her with ease. On the spanking subject the answer is yes we do at times. Right now timeouts in her room are working best. Does it help her not be angry, no. Most of these children are extremely bright and creative, but process the world in a different way.

Thank you for your post and know you are not alone. Did this hit me like a wave of fresh air! My daughter is always like this. So please tell me what you are doing. I have tried it all an feel like a failure of a mother because none of it works. I know how you are feeling!

I totally understand this article…my granddaughter from a very young age would scream when around crowds…or was hot. At one point I was asked if she had been seen by a doctor when she was having a tantrum. When she started preschool she would come home and take all of her clothes off as these felt to confining, I guess that was why. It would calm her anyway. As she got older she did keep her panties on. Only because she had to. She hated shopping. She is a teenager now and the only shopping she does is in bookstores.

They are her life. She has turned out to be a beautiful, smart and very interesting girl. I am only just at the beginning of this adventure with my 6 year old daughter and am not getting good response from our family doc, pediatrician and school. Do you have any online resources available for me to start this journey with? I too have an angry child. I have two: a 25 yo son and an almost 20 yo daughter. My son was a dream child. I did spank him on occasion and that worked for the situation.

It rarely happened because he was just a very well behaved child. Tantruns were not an issue with him. My daughter is the exact opposite of my son. When she was 14 she told me what she had been suffering since she was a small child, abuse at the hands of another. I am not saying that is her excuse for her bad behavior.

But it certainly lent to it I am sure. Now that she is approaching 20 she is able to recognize the situations that lead to her anger and anxiety. She is now a joy to be around and has the deepest most living soul. Mental illness is alive and thriving. Have your children evaluated, find the type of help that works for your child.

But they are all so different. He had little to do with her upbringing, So there is definitely a genetic component involved. Add to that the abuse she suffered in silence for so many years, and well, my life was a living hell while she was growing up. There is no cookie cutter solution. Get some help. Thanks for publishing this. We have utilized spanking as one of several discipline techniques and I think it does have some merit.

It increases anger in the moment and overall. My son also has Sensory Processing Disorder and I understand your frustrations. It sounds like you are doing a great job as a Mom. I have a child that gave the work strong willed a new meaning. We stopped spanking her when she was around 4, because it just made things worse. I looked at my husband one day and said we are spanking her to try to solve this anger issue and all it is doing is making her angrier. From that day forward we tried so many methods and honestly I do not remember what worked. Today she is a beautiful 18 year old with a big heart for little kids, especially foster and special needs kids.

Thank You for your post. They are more mothers out there with children like this and they need to know that they are not alone. It looks like you have almost everything. But how about pulling him out of school? Try free-range learning if you are able. That additional time outside of the classroom can do wonders. Kids more more free play than they are allowed in most schooling situations. It looks like you have tried almost everything. Kids need more free play than they are allowed in most schooling situations. My 21 month old son is just like this.

I have tried everything to get the behavior to stop nothing worked. Spanking makes it worse. So I would just let him scream. Sometimes that works and sometimes not. It gets frustrating with him so I start crying. I have three other children and they are very well behaved. Not him. Now I know what to do to better understand him thank you so much for posting this. It will help me so much. Sometimes, I think my job is to just provide a bit of a buffer between her and the world, when the world is too much, and just tell the world to back off a minute to let her get a grip on herself.

I just cant rush her. If I rush her, it gets worse. Oh wow. Me too. I sit on both sides of the spanking fence. I have a son with definite sensory issues. He holds things for reassurance. I have one child that is flat out angry. I found, quite by accident, that my tactile son has a sensitivity to red dye. When he ingest it, all hell breaks loose. To heck with the naysayers. If it works, it works. I do have a contact, if you hit the envelope at the top in the contact section it will bring up my email address.

Have you ever tried pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out? Yeah; spanking my child who sounds sooo much like yours is JUST like that! Thanks for your posts!!! I love ideas like this and things to pop in my mind during my day to day, it is a tool in itself. He agreed. We are the ones who know our kids, I doubt hitting helps any child. Anyway I am waffling. I just love to read things that make me feel I have options, ideas, some of which I think up myself and am greatful to see others have too, and I can elaborate more on my ideas too. I want to grow on that.

My mother-in-law had 8 children. He was an angry child. He had communication problems. Still does. Many years later, when he was over 40 years old, dropped out of high school, had a drug problem…He went to counseling and it turned out he had been molested as a young boy by a neighbor as he was riding his bike in the neighborhood.

He had poor communication skills, and a LOT of emotional baggage, and when he acted out…his parents tried to gain control over his behavior the same way that they did with the other 7 children. It backfired horribly. He became angrier, more reclusive, and more self-destructive. Now he is still emotionally handicapped and lives at home. I love my brother-in-law. I hurt for this man. I never want anyone else to experience what he did. Phil show so they can talk about it.

Who knows if it would have been your seventh or eighth kid that turned out this way, despite your best efforts. Be careful before you judge! I am so thankful I found this!!! I also have tried all the teacher tricks and the parent tricks. I love everything I have read from you so far.

I know I will spend hours going over your site. Thank you, thank you for all of these posts!!!! I have a daughter and 2 sons. The 2 boys were angry toddlers. I did not spank them. My youngest was just awful. He threw tantrums, again, wherever it hit him to do so. I had him when I was 40, so things rolled off of me a lot easier than with the older two. I have 25 years of early childhood development, and have known for a long time that spanking an angry child exacerbates the anger.

I just knew I would feel awful if I hit my kids. I never could rationalize how hitting my children would translate into good behavior. Every family member told me to spank them. Friends told me to spank them. I steadfastly refused, and I am so glad I did. The oldest son is 23, and a loving, calm, reasonable and rational adult. My youngest son is the same. He is 14 and a joy. He stands up for the underdog, thinks for himself and interacts with adults as well as peers. He cringes when he is told stories about how he behaved as a little boy.

He began to outgrow it around 6. His outbursts subsided gradually. There is hope. Stand your ground, and do what in your heart, you know is right. I too have an angry son. I have found you and one other website to be really wonderful resources. On there is a book I just ordered for any size donation. I hope this will help you with yours and me with mine! No one else seems to have mentioned it, but we could also remember what a chemically toxic world we now live in.

I really appreciated this post — thank you. My family has been blessed with sprit, and I often wonder if she may have SPD. Thank you for sharing your journey and struggle. I cannot thank you enough for this post! The loneliness of parenting a sensory child can be intense. We have been on the downward spiral with our 5yo son since a few months before his 3rd birthday and just recently learned that he has a sensory integration disorder and anxiety issues. You understand and furthermore you are brave enough to share your experiences.

Would it help you to be slapped if you were under tremendous emotional and physical stress? My child is far from perfect, but on the whole, he is wonderful, not a brat! He loves telling jokes and is a huge fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos he actually giggled and danced when he saw Venus in the night sky a couple of weeks ago. But in addition to all of this, his brain perceives loud or sudden noises as life threatening, he has difficulty knowing where his body is in relation to the rest of the world, and there are days where a light touch feels like a viscious assault to him.

And to the posters with and without children who say that we are too quick to accept this diagnosis…There was nothing quick, glib or lazy about this. Our diagnosis comes by way of tests, pediatricians, and more than one therapist. It merely put us on a path toward being able to better understand our child and help him learn to live in this world in some kind of harmony. Major pet peeve of mine is people thinking there is this magical step to making a kid behave. You can give your child the tools to be a good person and hope they use those as an adult.

Thats it. Spanking my kids makes me feel like crap and only makes me more mad. We are all trying our best and people on the opposite ends of parenting choices need to be respectful of that. My whole life, I agreed with spankings and time outs…. We my husband and I realized that the more our girls ages 7yrs and 5yrs could talk the more we understood the problems.

She learned to find words to the feelings, telling me to touch her, noises were too much, but we knew about the foods since she was a baby. It took me till February of this year, , to understand that her anger was part of the sensory. The more I research, the more I get it.

Funny how it took getting out of my home state to see the whole picture. First, thank you for posting all of these resources. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. And our children are in pain—because their anxiety is too much, because the world around them is too much, because their negative feelings are too much. I am so glad that finally after 9 yrs they found the cause of anger outbursts. I very much sympathize with you. My little guy is going to be 4 and we found that he has a form of SPD.

Basically what we found is that he needs to have his sensory needs satisfied. We have rice bin, rock bin, playdough, drawing, jumping, and hard squishy second hugs that help him. Hopefully you will find what works and helps your child to center himself and satisfy his sensory need. These needs need to be satisfied on top of the normal child developmental needs. Wishing you the best! He calms down easily enough once he is secluded in his room but getting him there is a challenge. I remember in psych classes in college that positive reinforcement was the most effective.

We still discuss the incident how he could have handled it differently and what he did and apologies are still given out but I praise him for keeping control of his body while he is angry rather than lashing out physically to those around him. As soon as he begins to get upset we remind him that he can earn stickers if he follows directions and takes some space in his room.

I never knew how challenging and creative parenting could be until I had kids as well as a practice in constant patience. Spanking worked great for three of my kids…but not the fourth. They would get a little pop, reevaluate their choices, and move on. But by four years old, my fourth child was angry, hateful, throwing enormous tantrums and controlling our family. What finally clicked to me was that touch was her love language. And therefore, spanking translated to hatred. It was never a form of discipline to her, it was in her mind a form of hatred, retaliation, and the very opposite of love.

And all for what? Or set some course of retaliation to make them pay for angering me. It was revolutionary. And now she equates her discipline with consequences, results of choices she made, rather than hatred or some personal vendetta of mine. Every kid is different and unique and beautiful. As i sit here reading this I sob. I am currently at my wits end. I have four girls 13,11,10,4 and am experiencing such outbursts of rage from our 4 year old that I am not sure what to do. Well done for writing this post.

The only thing that calms my angry child is love. If I get angry with him, he gets even more angry at the injustice of me spanking him and getting angry at him for simply being angry. Why is it ok for ME to be angry and not him? We are adults, they are children. Hello, I really salute you for your effort and patience. You are an amazing mum. I agree with what you wrote. Spanking is never an answer to behavioral issues in kids.

Imaging a policeman spanking an adult for having road rage. Ridiculous right yet we do it with our kids all the time. And they themselves are experiencing anger. The same process works with kids and it has proved to be very successful. I hope this help, I wish you all the best. My husband is from a different culture, so his parenting techniques are a little different. In our house the TV is not allowed to be on while the child is awake and if we do have stimulation such as beeping toys or rattles it has to be set at the lowest setting and only one at a time.

For now, that has seemed to help our child with tantrums. They have been WAY less. I have a 9 year old with the same issues. I have gotten so frustrated with her that I have tried your whole list as well, including spanking- all it does is make her more angry and me upset! Keep writing! I love knowing that I am not alone! God bless you! As a caregiver for children with multiple disabilities and sensory disorders, I can tell you…. Everything you write about in helping the child with their meltdowns is perfect in assisting the child through a very difficult time.

Keep on spreading the word!!! I so often come across behavioral issues and how things greatly improve with change in diet and healing of guy health …. Blog Good Mood Food is fantastic insight. Within the last 2 years we have added Generlized Anxiety and Autism to that list. He is a challenge on a daily basis and I learn something new every day. He has been more of a challenge lately.

I am so glad I did a little research and found your posts. It gives me hope that there is more I can try and also gives me hope that we can be successful in getting our son where he needs to be to be all that he can be in this word! We just want him to be happy and that can be hard! It is good to know we are not alone. Just read this on Facebook. Great Post. Thank you so much. I am the mom of 5 and my midlife child is an Aspie. The labels are not an excuse they are a way for us to understand him.

Parenting him like my other children was making him worse. In fact the research is showing that spanking and authoritarian parenting actually helps produce the ODD. Here are two resources that helped us a great deal to change our style and have helped my son so much. Our emotionaly disregulated kids have skill deficits. Spanking is useless and can really make them worse. Thanks again for your brave post. I stumbled upon this post today and I want to cry…out of relief. We have the same struggles with our 7 yo.

Nothing every seems to work or it loses its effectiveness quickly. Thank you for sharing this information. Makes me feel a little less alone. It is heart breaking. I think spanking sucks! I have tried it too and it made me feel like a piece of rubbish. It made me feel like an abusive spouse who hits you to get their way and then says they are sorry afterwards and say they love you! It never works either! I absolutely hate it! I was spanked as a child and brought up in an age and place where spanking was the right way.

Well it was not. I never trusted my mother because she spanked me when I was 3 years old and I never forgot it. So why was I so stupid as to try spanking my kids. Did I honestly think it would have a positive result? I was really pro spanking when I had my first kid. Being young and stupid! Needless to say that changed to — well maybe spanking is like a very last resort thing only if completely necessary — type of punishment. After my 2nd child who was an angry child and spanking proved useless yet again I really became anti spanking. But as someone who was brought up being spanked, I fail and I feel like an abuser now if I do spank as a last resort or out of pure lack of any other idea of what else to do or that natural built in, this is a spanking situation.

I wish I could erase spanking from my mind and I was to never spank my kids again ever! Spanking my kids is disgusting! I hate myself for ever having spanked them ever! I feel like a failure knowing I have spanked my kids before ;. I applaud your courage wiring this.

People will always judge and have opinions they feel entitled to share. Thank you for raising this important topic. This is very good! More and more I think that we parents have to be the ones to understand what our children need — there is no one size fits all parenting approach since our children are unique. Spanking or any kind of punishment is the last thing they need in that situation. We give our kids consequences for disobedience. I think spanking is unnecessary after age 4 or 5 because there are better consequences to give.

You are right. They just made my daughter MORE angry. Any kind of punishment provoked a revenge response. Connection before correction. Calming exercises like deep breathing, soothing movement, and distraction work. Teaching strategies for self calming works. My daughter has a diagnosis, too. Clinical anxiety. In her case, medication helps.

These diagnoses DO help! They help parents, teachers, and others understand the difficulties our children are experiencing. They help children get the help they need. Keep up the good work spreading actionable knowledge, and understand that those who advocate violence toward our children are coming from a place of ignorance. I wanted to send you a possible approach that I believe would go hand-in-hand with your strategies.

Makes no sense. Plus, I have never condoned spanking a child under any circumstances…. I lost my self control out of exasperation once when my daughter was two and 1: It did nothing to help the situation just made it worse ; and 2: I felt such horrible guilt and shame for loosing my cool and doing that to her that I cried for a good half hour.

Then apologized for the way I handled the situation. And no matter what, I love you. No, I agree that spanking s wrong, especially with kids who cannot control their anger under any circumstances. You are absolutely right about this. Dairy products have a profound effect on the brains of some individuals, me included. When I was a child, and eating dairy products, I threw terrible tantrums and was angry a lot.

My mom saw Dr.

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Lendon Smith on TV and decided to eliminate dairy from my diet. My tantrums decreased and my development sky-rocketed. Now, I have a couple of kids, and noticed one- the angry one — throws raging fits of shouting, spewing awful things, and slamming doors. No recollection of the yelling. You, obviously know your child best, but maybe eliminating dairy would help lessen the amount and intensity of the anger, like it does with mine. By the way, Oprah covered this topic about years ago.

There was a boy who got kicked out of school for throwing things like chairs, and having angry fits. After a doctor visit, the mother took her son off of milk and dairy products. Thank you… I just discovered your site and have already in about 10 minutes found great tools and encouragement and feel as though you have walked in my shoes. I always feel very misunderstood as a mama and feel that my child is even more misunderstood.

So again, thank you! For being someone out there who understands and who is advocating for all of us and our sweet kids. Thank you for sharing. It is so hard hearing from other people on how you should parent your child. Sorry this post was long. Thank you again for sharing your story with us. Thank you for this post and your previous post. My 5 yo has some anger issues, no other diagnosis that I can see, though.

He seems to only get this way at home our home life is less than ideal at the moment and so I understand. Spanking worked for my 7 yo and most of my friends tell me I should spank the 5 yo more. Except, it makes him more angry. Not upset, sad, or sorry. So, thank you, again. There more truer words to tell someone who finally gets it! I know now that I am not alone. Thank you so much for hitting the publish button.

I have known for a while that my son has sensory processing disorder but the fact that he is angry quite often has confused me. I figure my son was overwhelmed, but he absolutely has NO mood regulation. Then I cry and we all cry together! Thank you for giving me the name of something I can take to my doctor. Thank you!! Katie, You are not alone! As I read your comment, it was as if I had written it. Exactly the same with my son! He also has Sensory Processing Disorder and we truly struggle with the mood regulation!

As you said, he can go from a laughing, happy boy to angry and crying in seconds. I have been SO worried about this as it comes and goes so often and many times without warning. Another thing is that he is super sensitive. We can be kidding around one minute and then he will take something said so personally and cry that nobody loves him or that we are all mean…. I wish things were easier for him! I can absolutely relate to this. My son also has sensory processing disorder and has difficulty in various situations, as well.

School and family get togethers are the most difficult. We have also tried many methods to get through emotional outbursts. Thank you for introducing me to the term Emotional Dysfunction—this explains a lot of his behaviors and right now is honestly the most difficult to help him through. Thank you so much for this. He has always had problems with what we thought were just transitions between activities and figured as he got older he would just grow out of it.

Before children, I never believed in many of the emotional diagnoses. I thought they were made up disorders to provide an excuse for a child that misbehaved. Boy was I wrong. My son is the most loving, empathetic child when he is happy but when something sets him off and he is fight or flight mode nobody can even get through to him.

He needs a distracting activity to help calm him. Thank you Sooooo much for this! I don't think the system will be funded to cope, all we'll get will be a bigger divide between the private and public education sectors and that will give us further stratification of Australian society. It's essentially across-the-board development. The first years are in fact one of the most fundamental parts of cognitive, emotional and social development. Who you're gonna be is never set in stone, but what you learn in your first years is going to be a part of your persona for your entire life, barring something huge.

You're right that sticking 3 year olds into a room with 15 other 3 year olds and conducting lessons is not going to work, but I don't recall seeing that being the specific proposal here. This article seems to only be suggesting we invest earlier in children's education, rather than just leaving them to watch 'In the night garden' for a year. The earlier parents realise teaching their children is going to have an effect, the better.

Providing state resources to facilitate this and make sure people bother to do it doesn't seem a terrible idea. We should invest in some form of earlier education for 3 year olds for a huge range of reasons. One of the ones most people seem to be obsessed with lately is economic. When selling an idea, sell it on the attribute most people care about. We can see what the Labor policy is and I think its a bit lacking. The LNP have no policy yet and I for one would like more than a few days before an election to find out.

I only hope the Media pesters Abbott enough to elicit some sort of policy announcement so as I can make a choice on this as well as many other issues. If the LNP policy is better for my grandkids than Labors then that would go a long way in getting my vote. If like I suspect, Abbotts lot, will delay and divert away from policy until the last possible moment and then cause a distraction, say Clive Palmer deciding to fly to the moon, then they dont deserve a vote, not even one.

The yank is not right, again. LNP says it will support nannies. They are the ones who will teach the child till it is three and eligible to attend kindy. Brain development is greatest up till three, when the early childhood teacher takes over. Ergo LNP policy isnright, unless the parent s carry that role themselves. They are the ones who will teach the child What a blighted view of young Australians you have. Many nannies will probably be uni students trying to support themselves.

Child care centers where a dozen or more kids are lumped together on one big mattress is not ideal, no matter how well qualified the teacher might be. My blighted view is of the Liberal Party eternal assumption that the cheapest alternative is the best option.

I further disagree with the posters who proclaim that 15 children to gether on a mat in a child-care facility is less than ideal. It is probably the best option since it gives a whole group for each child with whom to interact social skills especially since parents are no longer comfortable for largely spurious reasons to allow their children to roam and interact in their own neighbourhood with their own selection of playmates.

The role of the care provider in that day care centre is not to "teach" as such, but to provide safe interactive opportunities, both with other kids and with objects water play in both directed and undirected sessions. That needs a trained provider, not "the girl from down the road" who's cheap. I guess that if you have 15 toddlers in a room to 3 carers with basic Cert. The children crawl over each other, mouth the same toys, wipe their snot on each other and their toys, and because most parents will send their kids to care when they are unwell they are all either incubating, have, or are getting over some hideously contagious disease.

They learn early that it's all about survival of the fittest. Bullying is a learned habit and it does not always originate in the home. I defy any parent to spend a week watching their child unobserved by child and centre staff in a busy childcare centre where their child would be lucky to have the same carers on a daily basis and not have nightmares.

I do ,however agree wholeheartedly with your first sentence. Whether nannies, parents, grandparents or childcare workers provide the best option is irrelevant when considering LNP policy. Providing taxpayer funded nannies or childcare is inconsistent with the LNP "small government, free market, low tax" rhetoric. Their preferred option should be that employees work out these arrangements with their employers, so that we can all pay less tax.

Magoo, since when did the LNP endorse a nanny scheme. Abbott was having a thought bubble and it was only ever aspirational anyway. Thats polly speak for "we will look at it but it will never happen". The nanny idea has so many flaws, not the least being affordability for the every day punters where both parents have to work ususally in shitty jobs just to put food on the table and provide a bed for their children, very contrasting to Abbotts middle class family on K plus a year, company car, laptop, telephone and subsidies to boot with mum working not because she 'has to' but simply because she 'wants to' while enjoying gov handouts to have their already spoilt children spoilt even more.

I don't begrudge these people any of their hard earnt but for god sake gov subsidised nanny's when there are homeless people sleeping on our streets every night. Get some perspective. I repeat this is not LNP policy because they have never outlined there child care, education, health, finacial, defence, welfare, or industrial relations policies at all. Just aspirational thought bubbles on the run without conviction or intent.

I ask the conservatives here one question. Do you intend to vote against a government that has policies, some good some bad, or a party who have no policies at all. Be careful what you wish for because as many past long serving Liberals have warned us through there actions that the present LNP leadership is corrupted and inept. Ask Malcolm Fraser or Peter Costello just 2 very well respected and astute senior libs, although Frazer voted with his feet, or would you prefer to ask Peter Reith or Honest John. Magoo by name Magoo by nature. The yank is right. We need to recognise the year olds develop at different rates.

We already have a problem with early childhood people bringing out their graphs and standard deviations and declare theres something wrong with your child. To enshrine this into a formal school system is a big mistake. Its taken 2 years to rebuild the confidence of one of our children after coerced into speech therapy. These people can say studies show this studies show that all they like but as far as I am concerned no-one knows their child like the parent. My advice is if you are concerned about your child ask grandma. Perhaps a line of enquiry may be why an increasing number of parents have lost confidence in the public school system and are home schooling their children.

I completely agree. My children are grown now. My experience is that there is a huge difference in growth over a huge range of things at such a young age. Some of the children were better socially, some with math, some with reading. Some had far greater motor skills. But what they could acheive at that age often had nothing to do with achievement at adults. And there were a lot of surprises.

Who was it that couldn't walk till he was two? What if some graph toting expert had told his parents that he needed to be at some generic standard and they, as parents do, started stressing and worrying and pushing him to be like the 'others'. What effect is this going to have on our children? Are we going to raise a generation of people with problems? I kept one daughter back a year from full time school, because I believed she wasn't ready socially.

Interestingly, she did better than my other three. You cannot have a standard at that age. There will be such a difference in developement and many parents will be unable to stop themselves from putting pressure on their children to 'perform' as good as the neighbours children. Hi Jules, Yes, yes, yes. Children do develop with their own inner clock and push and shove gets you nowhere. I am an Early Childhood Educator and have been for over 18 years.

Just as in any other walk of life their is the good with the bad. I happen to believe I am on the side of the good. I have to comment on the keeping your child behind to give them a little extra time to find their footing in this big world. Well done and how lucky that you could in years past. I know that for many parents now even if they wanted to they could not due to policies in some primary school systems grouping children by age and not by needs or development. One of my parents wanted to wait an extra year before having their child begin full time schooling and was informed by the school that when they began the following year they would be placed in grade 1 not in prep due to their age.

How is this benefitial for their schooling or education? Child Care seems to be getting a pretty bad rap in a lot of the articles but any parent can tell you that a year old will do what they want to do. If we want to encourage curious minds and creative thinkers we need to expand on and make learning opportunities out of what interests the children, what they are passionate about.

Isn't that how adults learn best as well? For me the education of a child is a group effort. Family, child care, school and the wider commuity as our children explore the world and learn from what they see and as they interact with it. It takes a village and a little common sence. Just a thought. A tough issue where policy meets politics meets finance meets challenging societal norms. It's part of where the education debate will head, being what actually happens inside schools rather than how much money they have to spend.

It's actually the issue contained deep inside Gonski's report which should be read alongside the Gratham Institute report into education that was released at the same time. Why is education policy a joke? Easy, because the media is all about entertainment. So long as the media is sick so too is the audience. Cross-party support is rare but iy was not enough to stop the media exploiting fears of the small number of sub-standard teachers who would have been exposed by the program. Week after week the local paper ran hyped up accounts of the few who felt threatened by the program.

Readership among the large population of education focussed voters increased a bit.

But bit by bit the hype influenced an even larger audience who take a where-there's-smoke approach and eventually the bi-partsan political agreement to do the right thing collapsed. Governments do what the media allows it to. Humanity is a herd. So long as our intellectual elite allow media to exploit notions of freedom to protect their celebrity and their profits, the least intellectually able pay the price.

The hypodermic model of media effects is falsifiable and has been demonstrated to be false. If you don't believe me then simply ask yourself how you or I ,members of the herd, have the capacity to be critical of media effects rather than simply bound by its discourse? You need to develop a more fine-grained view of the situation.

I'd guess that the the word "hypodermic" is used as a name for a model of social influence in some book and you are probaly a student. Those guesses may or may not be correct just as any theory of influence can be. If your theory discounts the effect of the media on voting patterns then it is in competition with lots of evidence to the contrary.

However, if all you sought to say is that social effects are almost never just one influence, then we agree. Children are born as an "open book" with a inquiring mind, early childhood education should not be hasty to fill that book from the failures of others. As a parent of a 4 and six year old, and having helped out in their classrooms regularly, i see the huge gulf between the top and bottom end of the class.

A more formal approach to educating parents and a shift in family values away would do wonders for the development of these kids. It's common sense, but sadly it's not what the vast majority of society wants or demands. My children will be at the top of the class, probably because my wife and i have actively engaged in their early education and emotional development. But this isn't the reason we did it.

No offence as I think that it's really great that you take such an active interest in raising your children , but why does it matter who's at the top of the class? I was an average primary school student and a dismal secondary student. Still, now I have postgraduate tertiary qualifications. I'm happy to attribute a portion of my success to the emotional and financial support of my parents. However, I don't want you to be disappointed if your children aren't interested in being near the top of the class.

It may be that the extent to which people is more than the sum of their innate capacity and their parental support. Personally, I hated the microcosm of society that was school, so I had no interest in achievement. Still, I moved onto wider society and had some success. So, don't be despondent if things don't go quite according to plan. My children watched their father doing handyman jobs and helped me with the cooking, so they got to be involved with measuring and quantities and using tools.

They were read to from a very early age, and were allowed to play in mud and sand. Both completed their tertiary education. Asians in general are seen to be hard workers and their children are involved from the time they can walk. Once again, the Australian Government are being asked to do the community's job. Possibly more community education would "raise awareness" and encourage more parents to actively parent. Gollygosh, how lucky were your kids to have you as parents!

In all this waffle about 'early childhood education' i never seem to hear the word "play". All kids do it naturally and it is how they learn along with helping parents and other adults do useful things together. Plus big doses of kindness and fun. How many nannies will let the kids play in the mud? Too academic in my sense is that they either feel play is too boring to engage in, or they are busy studying or lecturing, or they expect too much from the very young in achievement.

I once found three very young children playing alone at a lake and took them home to find the father who was in charge listening to music and following it on a score, fortifying his studies with a large whisky. He had no idea that the children had left the house.

True - but it's not working. Brochures and ads and education - doesn't work. It should, but it doesn't. So how to help kids who need it? Offering not forcing free early childhood education seems a good solution for everyone. Baby bonus, nanny bonus, or student bonus? We have to start spending more of what the children need and not what the parents might want.

When it comes to population, we need quality not quantity. Most Aussies are so uneducated that they can't even get their heads around the simple principles of climate change. Of all the subjects taught at school, science principle is the most important of all.

Selected Speeches by Valedictorians From Around Westchester

The Labor party should have immediately scraped the baby bonus when they took power and used that cash for a "laptop bonus" for high school students initially and then to fund computers and computer study for primary students over the longer term, as we are already now well into the age of digital education.

Respectfully, I disagree that science is most important. I'd argue that language is actually more important, particularly if it is taught well. Maths, science, and language all share logical structures and so have the capacity to teach logic. However, language also has more ambiguous, complex and overlapping properties so, through thinking about language, we have the capacity to understand the contours of concepts. In life, some things are cut and dried like a specimen but lots are messy - ambiguous, complex, and overlapping. It's important to develop a conceptual system and a lexicon to address this complexity.

Similarly, an examination of language can also facilitate critical thinking, or developing an understanding of your self, of your capacity for empathy. It's not simply a lack of scientific knowledge that makes too many people distrustful of the climate change consensus. So, I think there are fundamental lessons that can be taught across different disciplines and the important is not to get caught up in the content but to teach the dynamics and systems of knowledge. I think you are right there, Nordcore. Watching my primary-aged granddaughter playing games on her school laptop the other evening, caused me to think about the disengagement from learning and interacting that computers provide.

Once her mother realised what she was doing, to her credit she told her to stop, but more vigilance is necessary when children have these devices away from the classroom. I understand that they need to learn to use computers, but I believe that language is far more important and that children should use computers as tools in certain class exercises, and their brains the rest of the time.

Setting homework which includes making an advertisement on the lap top does not resonate with me. Gone are the days when children could do "mental arithmetic" which enables us older people to recognise when figures are incorrect. Spelling and vocabulary are changing and contracting and younger people in general do not recognise nuances - which could well leave them at a disadvantage in business later in life.

The art of language is the art of politics. Get the picture? Yes, I maintain that this is what is so important for our children to learn. In fact, bring back Rhetoric as a unit to study! Am I too assume that you think that I'm wrong? Show me why, lest I make the mistake of thinking that you've not really understood my point, since you treat it with such insouciance. Rhetoric is the common language of you basic charlatan e. My apologies for any excessive use of ornamentation in my argument. It seems people are missing the point of the article because they are either speaking from their own limited experience or engaging in wishful thinking about how our society should be something other than what it is.

A socially conservative society might produce more on-task children, but that's not the society we live in and there's no point in pretending it's going to become so any time soon. We have to deal with reality as it is, and that means the state has a role in making sure all children are provided with the appropriate adult engagement for their developmental stages. And BTW, spend some time in an early-childhood course at a university before you assume that parents have all the knowledge and training they need to cater for their child's learning needs. Early childhood educators need to be trained and paid according to their professional standing.

There's no controversy here, and no need for manufactured outrage. I believe that most parents, given the time and the energy would parent from instinct and that is more important than any scientific pontification. As I said in my previous post, allowing children to help in household tasks and taking the time to engage with them during their earliest years is the most wonderful time a parent and child can have. No quantifying or comparison of their abilities, just a time for one on one communication and a chance to set some values. I know that this is what is lacking in many households of all socio economic backgrounds, but I don't believe that this responsiblity should be lumped onto the state, better by far to train the parents who have missed this background in their own early years.

What also needs addressing are the parents who sit their small children down with those education activity books and pressure them to perform. Even in the generation of those children in the first place. Instinct runs a very poor last. I would dispute that Miowarra, I believe that we often instinctively respond in a way that is too quick for intellectual rationalisation to have taken place.

Education does not replace loving human care and nurturing for the very young and no-one can replace the parental role. I would not like to see toddlers being institutionalised and for that reason found the Russian childcare institutions numbing, when we saw them on tv in the 60's.

I did not realise, by the way, that generation of children came from education, I thought it was through human instinct and the act of sexual intercourse! Fully support the need for pre-school education to be taken as seriously as primary and secondary schooling, and would like to see journalist and perhaps parents pressure both parties to do better on this. It is true that parents are primarily responsible for what occurs at home, but the sad reality is that many parents lack the awareness or ability to provide a safe and structured home environment.

This is where government can help, by extending and improving the quality of universal pre-school at least to cover all 4 year olds, with a view to then expanding to 3 year olds. And for year olds, early intervention services with a strong outreach component and a focus on the whole family regardless of its make-up for at-need populations are vital. I was involved as a volunteer mentor a couple of years back with a mentoring program for vulnerable new mums. An evaluation of the program was done but I am not aware of the results, but I believe other research into similar programs has shown they can be enormously influential in teaching and supporting new mothers and linking them in to the community services and social networks they often so desperately need, simply through weekly visits by another mother in their local area backed up by social services where needed.

Would be amazing to have something like that nation-wide and not that difficult either as relies mainly on volunteers. Not sure why you're citing Britain as an example of good early education. Early childhood education in the UK is about to introduce testing of three and four year olds - and this focus on testing - which has resulted in the narrowing of the curriculum - continues throughout primary and secondary school.

This has not resulted in improved educational outcomes but simply ensured that many children are labelled as 'failures' before they have even started their education. If you're going to cite examples of good practice you should be looking to the Scandinavian countries. That came from a study of children in very poor African American communities. Almost all of the benefits in that study came from reduced crime in later life and not from educational achievement. This study clearly does not translate well to the Australian environment.

Also, you need to be clear about what you mean by 'quality'. Yes, quality is important but the research shows that what matters is the interactions between adults and children, the care shown etc. Government on the other hand can only control quality very indirectly through staff to child ratios and qualification requirements. Many studies have been conducted on whether these do in fact lead to better outcomes and there is no clear result. The end result of increasing 'quality' in early childhood education has been a massive cost for a very uncertain gain.

Very good article Emma. I think like you that early learning centres should be attached to schools. It seems to me to be a no brainer to give this extra responsibility with the extra associated fund to our schools to run before after and overnight child care with appropriate learning modules incorporated.

The benefits are huge for parents, their children and the schools. Parents would benefit from being able to drop off and pick up all their under 12 children from the one location. If a parents working hours go past 3pm then their primary aged children can simply go to the afterschool care centre safe and sound.

If their work starts at say 8 am then the children can go to the child care centre until starting time. I can see no reason why our school buildings could not be utilised for after hours child care with carers travelling to the kids rather than the other way around. Caring and early learning and tutorial centres at every school would solve the child care problems of the future. In a perfect world we could even put in a dormatory for those children whose parent s work the afternoon and night shifts. A little bit of subject but I do like the summer school model for those children lagging behind as in the USA.

I got no idea about actual cost but if private enterprise can profit from child care and extra tutoring roles then surely schools could do with that profit returned to the school rather than to boost Eddie Groves bank roll. I am the single parent who did his utmost with minimal external resources, normal to the majority of single parents. If we equate that with the amount of children living in households under modern mortgage and rental stress, with all the mental and emotional stress that accompanies that, then it is highly unlikely the majority of children will ever get sufficient nurture to be able to cope with formal schooling at all.

The majority of parents are thus, unable to socially cope, sufficiently, to keep up with the private schooling brigades. The entire political system, in regards to schooling is then discriminatory. Political policies of such early interventions, that would turn this around, are not in Australias conservative what I deserve now mindset. Arent we to think of the word future at all? Asias coming people! My grandfather and Im sure many of yours, said the words: the Asians will take over without firing a shot. Well, it is the Asian century supposedly, so what are you going to do about it?

Society is forgetting the simple joy of being a child and being free. Maybe that doesn't suit our capitalist system where everything has to have a return - but surely simple happiness is a return that is beyond the economic rationalists. Don't take the joy out of childhood or society will suffer terribly from disconnection and depression later in the life.

Great civilisations of the past aren't remembered by how well their three year olds could add up or read - but by the artists and artisans who are the soul of a culture. Forcing children into their left brain disconnects them from their creative joy and then our whole society suffers. Institutionalise them earlier! How can that be the only answer? Improving the expectations and training requirements in early childhood institutions is one option but why isn't there discussion around the value of educational programs for parents?

The home life of a child has enormous impact on a child's development and effective parenting for want of a better term doesn't always come naturally. There are several problems with the 15 hours of 'schooling'. Children of 4 get tired nd need rest. Even those 4 years and 11 months let alone those well under 4 as many are, using the admission system rules need to have down-time in a 5 hour day.

So, not all the day is "effective learning", and no amount of Government wishful thinking will make it so for those children who need rest. Schools work on a five day week, and so there are typically: a. However, the lunches and preparation time for staff have to be covered, so staff have to be brought in from adjacent or the 'managing' school. And, some of these staff have little experience and often no training in Early Childhood. Also, the timings can be a nightmare, because the teachers have face-to-face time restrictions how long they can be with children without a break so it can happen that a teacher gets a "lunch break" at So, there are real management issues that school management is being confronted with, and Government is washing its hands of because they have 'funded' the program.

Someone in Government needs to actually confront these managementt issues, too, and not just the funding. Are you saying that we should remove children from their home environment and effectively institutionalise them from a very young age? In my experience children are quite self centered and self absorbed in the first two or three years as they acquire motor and language skills. Also in my experience children do not need "two parents".

They need a range of adults who are interested in their outcomes. Those who have a supportive extended family are lucky. Wouldn't it be better to set up structures which support the parents who are the child's primary learning resource at this time? I suggest paid parental leave for two years, during which time the parent s and their children attend a structured support resource at say the local school, where they are given information on how to enhance their child's development.

For example, they could go three times a week, where they get to be involved in games and story telling activities that they can engage in with their children. They could have things like making toys, story telling props and producing activities for their children from common items, like old socks and boxes etc. They could also have talks from professionals on such things as child development, visits by nurses and dental therapists for developmental checkups, and access to advice on dealing with individual issues, such as "Is this behavior in my child normal and how do I deal with it?

There could also be regular excursions to give the youngsters concrete experiences in the "real" world. When the parents return to work they should still have access to casual support systems based through the schools, such as monthly parents meetings where the topic is not about fund raising, but a guest speaker discussing issues of child raising. What I am suggesting is that we support the parents in their parenting. Emma Alberici You have presented a well researched article which only really lacks information on the effect of an overly structured environment on a pre-school child.

A child in the first two years masters an amazing amount of skills and physical feats without the influence in most cases of structure. The child is able to set its' own. Our education system is not the envy of the world as it is based on theories imposed by bureaucrats on work practices developed by trade unions. Until we encourage experimental schools and investigate the early environment of 'genius' we will not be able to devise a better system than at mother's or grandparents knee.

The human brain shows plasticity or ability to change due to the ability to learn until old age. The first three years are when this plasticity is at a maximum. To not invest in our young at this tender age is false economy. The basic needs are not at all costly. All that is needed is a loving environment where the child feels secure and safe. Material needs are inconsequential as long as basic needs are met. The encouragement and stimulation for learning are the most important matter for the whole environment the child is in.

This includes firstly the influences of family and friends. It cannot be left to outside experts until later as they cannot undo the damage already done. It is up to us as a society to help any families where it is needed, not intervene when it is too late! Yes childhood learning is important. This is why children should be kept away from schooling completely.

Early schooling is better than later but it is still pretty awful. Institutionalising people is not good for them. The way people learn is by having the opportunity to try out meaningful experiments on tasks that are relevant to them. This applies to all people but is especially important for younger people. In other words imposing an adult's notion of what is important on children is the way to interfere with their learning. The unexamined idea that institutionalising people is somehow good for people is appalling.

There is good information on what helps people. The way schooling is done is the opposite. The building blocks to learning are achieved in the early years, and the reality is that the context for that learning is mostly the home environment. Funding and support for the family relationships would be a wise investment. Likewise, when we are talking about evidence from 'brain science', taking a strong stance against abuse and neglect would be a wise investment.

Most school and community based welfare intervention cames as a result of the effects on the brain from the trauma of Domestic violence, neglect, parental alcohol and drug use and a intergenerational repeat of dysfunctional relationships. There are main two parts to this argument One that Child care workers need to be paid on parity and considered professionally on parity with other educators and are just as critical in the process.

Two that there are macro benefits for society by maintaining and having the best educators. Firstly should Child care workers be paid on parity Of course they should be and its a long time coming. Is it Critical that children start their education young? Well thats debatable, and its always interesting to hear education arguments that are framed in subjective arguments that clearly reflect Biological reductionism, economic reductionism. That Education has one macro goal to increase economic output to increase productivity without a thought of the subsistence concept.

However parental education has more than one role to play in creating meaning and the understanding. Its not a, matter of squeezing more potential out of people by getting them in young whilst their brains are still young. Or that it should be outsourced to those who are Professional the educators in order to achieve the Best outcome. Many countries, with high growth economies and high social indicators do not start their children in formal education or institutional education until they are older at no peril.

Australia is one example, what would be the point? Potential outcomes? Are parents such bad early childhood Educators? Here's an interesting stat -if there is a stay home parent Male or female the outcomes are usually higher, and the higher the level of education of the stay home parent during the full course of education the higher the outcomes are for the child as compared to any other variables. With the absence of a curriculum the profit model for childcare is the only one which affords choice to parents.

In such a market model better teachers on higher pay should attract higher fees putting them on a sustainable footing. ABC failed because of an unsustainable growth strategy that backfired. My son is in daycare once a week but has learnt nothing compared to the parenting he receives from his unpaid mother. If people could bother to look up history they would find that education has allways improved under labor governments and then declined under liberal government.

The reasons are simple the libs reduce funding to public schools and tell the public we run surpluses and labor run defeciets history will tell you this is a great big lie look it up on the web. A simple question for the public is who donates to the libs miners tobaco e. John howards government saw us go backwards with education which is one of the reasons why as a soceity we are becoming more ignorant and dumb and People like abbott play to the dumb by scaring them with great big lies and they being uneducated vote for him but it is not there fault they did not get the chance of a good education thanks to people like abbott and howard it has happened in america they dont even want a good health system and will probably vote it down.

America is currently ranked dumbest nation in the western world per capita i think maybe we will over take them soon with a abbott government. What amazes me is that adults with very little understanding of childhood developent write or comment on early childhood. The types of things children learn through play and their senses is what is truly valuable is these early ages.

Of course you are going to get some who are interested in reading and writing but the majority are learning valuable social tools. Perhaps we need to look at wether children are ready for school at 5 ,not all children are especially boys. Good quality child centered programs acknowledge that children develop at different levels ,have different interests and learn through play. In Norway children don't start formal schooling until 7 and last time I looked they were doing just fine.

So by all means support learning give opportunies for children to have kinder. But please ,please please let them be 3 or 4 or 5. Read them stories ,but dont force them to learn reading. THis is the reason why some children are lagging behind , they are not playing they are sitting in front of television.

Those of you who insist on passing on your genes should take the responsibility to look after your spawn. There is more onus put on pet owners to look after their puppy, "'cause a puppy grows up", than on parents who believe they can pop one out and shove the wrinkley little thing on a bottle and into some paid form of care, or worse dumped on the previous generation.

If 3 hours attention a day is not enough to keep a border collie sane how do you think professional care of under 3's is going to build a society which has civil values, more than plopping out little economic units. There is not a single useful citation in the article. However, Bruer provides several causes for pause on this article and the purported?

A book by Zigler et al critiques and answers Bruer and others. It does, however, note that while early childhood is important, growth and development and learning can occur throughout life. Brain mass or numbers of neurons is not the same as brain development. It would be nice if people making these kinds of claims and counter claims did more than assert or pay lip service to the very complex science of which they are offering but a far dumbed-down shadow. I fully agree with you Emma, quality public education starts in the pre-school years and it requires the needed investment to attract well qualified and highly motivated pre-school teachers NOT working-class Nannies who have no other choice in life but minding rich-people children at home for a government-subsidised pittance!

Public investment in education: from pre-school to University, is essential these days for two very simple reasons. First, children need to have access to the individual and social envirnoment for learning and emotional development within a reality where parents usually both need to work to either make ends meet or to access a better quality of life. Second, those children not only need to develop mentally in a "normal" way but they also need to be mentally prepared for a world that is becoming complex.

Modern life requires more knowledge of things, it's not as easy as it was 50 or years ago. The less knowledge and understanding of this complexity a child has throughout development the less likley is that, on avergae, she or he may succeed. In order to provide adequate education in preparation for such complex world, well qualified and sufficiently well paid educators are needed: from pre-school to University.

I find it appalling that some sections of the media and our government promote the idea that the home with one of the child's parents, is not the best place for them to be raised and primarily educated in their years before school. This idea is all about trying to get parents back in the workplace, nothing to do with what is best for the child. Children want emotional stability and security, they want to be able to learn with someone who gives them that - which is very challenging for childcare workers who have 4 to 12 children per worker in their care, depending on the age of the children.

Ask any mother of four children under age 4 or 5 how she feels and you would often be told 'exhausted! In the 3 year olds room it is about 8. Providing the same level of education and care for each individual child in such a setting as they would receive at home is hard, and often not achieved. This is in no way a criticism of the staff - it is just a reality. No amount of training or bureaucratic paperwork will change that. Obviously this is not the case for children from an abusive home.

But our government is increasingly placing pressure on families for both parents to be working, and for a single parent making the choice to stay home with young children places huge pressures on their finances. To me this is the looming economic threat to our society in the future - generations of adults who have been institutionalised from a very young age and received mediocre education and emotional grounding as a result.

I thought you were being antagonistic towards the woman academic from the USA Your finger pointing seems a little too, political, maybe ABC typical "being used as an attack on the current federal government"? You would never have written such an article when Howard was in office Channel 7? Tony P Grant Emma Interviewed Minister Garrett on this topic and was quite rude to him her history tells you a lot about her she was employed by the Murdoch group under the leadership of economics commentator Mr McCrann.

Howard government was in power for over eleven years and I did not hear her raise this subject. I am critical of the management of the ABC for allowing her to comment in this way, since when do so called independent presenters employed by the ABC have the right to espouse political bias on our ABC web site if this lady wants to publish political arguement she should move to an employer that allows for those comments to be made.

If the ABC is going to allow their presenters to make such comments then we need to look at the ABC charter and bring it under control so that it does remain independent. Tex, My understanding is that Mr Scott is leaving and I believe there will be a few following. Yes, Uhlmann is very rude as well, I never seen Howard get this sort of treatment, even though he puts our "diggers' in harms way! Where was all the screaming about this now viewed criminal activity?

War Crimes! It's a struggle having a coherent and informed debate in Australia in a social context of fairly strong anti-intellectualism, where the well-educated are seen as airy-fairy, impractical, out-of-touch and elitist. I have a post-tertiary education, good general knowledge, 4 fluent languages of which 3 I use daily at work and a highly-paid professional job.

I am thoroughly tired of the scorn I get from family and society at large. I get little respect and plenty of resentment from family and people outside of work - even my own mother, who would never have accepted me doing any less by the way, constantly disparaged my lifestyle of 'never having gotten my hands dirty' or having done 'an honest day's work'. Most people don't value a good education, so it's hard to have a sensible discussion about it. James, you have put your finger straight into one of the deepest wounds of traditional Australian society and culture.

In other countries, including many Asian countries, investment in the education of the young is supposed to bring joy to the whole family and, in addition, it is also expected to bring some material benefits in terms of sound professional free of charge advice on specific matters and so on. I lived in a third world country where you were supposed to have a large family and out of the children you hoped to have one becoming a lawyer, one a medical doctor, one a businness person, and one a priest; so that all needs of the family would be attended to: from cradle to grave On the other hand, "forgetting where you come from" is a common criticism directed to the educated ones within a family in other societies, including Australia.

I agree with the criticism when the educated is also arrogant and elitist. But many are not, especially those with a highly developed social conscience, and still they get the criticism. This country really needs to get over the traditional "tall poppy syndrome". To help in the process, those who have achieved a high level of education need to put that knowledge to the service of ALL not just a FEW and not just to themselves. Then, hopefully, our national culture may start to change Was it Socrates who said education was wasted on the young?

I think he was referring to formal education. I do not think pre-school age children are mature enough for formal education. A lot of learning and development is going on at that stage but attempting to create a simplistic structure based on other learning institutions is heading in the wrong direction. It creates impressive career paths and well funded administrative structures for the adults but does not seem to focus on the needs of the children.

My first year at school I filled the whole blackboard at the back of the room with a huge "child image" of a ship I was 6 years old! Sue, the issue is how to respond to the reality of busy parents mother and father. Solution A is to pay mums to stay home; solution B is to pay nannies to take care of children at home; solution C is to provide better and more qualified public child-care facilities. Solution A won't work unless the incentive is commensurate with mum's potential salary, and even in the extremely unlikely situation that government can match a potential salary, mums will see that abandoning their career may just help them "dig their own professional grave" Not a very nice long-term prospect for your life.

Solution B , the Nannification of society, is even worse. Nannies will be low-paid, unqualified people who will spend an enormous amount of time taking care for one or two children only. I would rather prefere those "nannies" to get formal early education qualifications and then join a formal educational child-care centre, where best standards are applied. That's solution C. Those parents who are not "busy" and have plenty of time for parenting, are unlikely to have any problem and may not need any help. Good on them. How much info and of what type, for instance? As for rushing kids off earlier into The System where one size fits all , how Orwellian!

How about more of a focus on quality, parent provided early education and learning instead, rather than upscaled day care with perceived benefits? Finally, just because good old England and Europe do something doesn't mean we should do it here. We've seen that road followed before - especially here in WA - and look where we are and indeed where they are.

Well neuroscience has taught us that the ability to acquire language diminshes rapidly with age, particularly from birth to age 5. Accordingly, for children to acquire 2 or more languages easily, fluently and possibly natively, they need to be 'taught' before age 6. I put teach in quotation marks because children don't learn language in the same way as adults as they're still developing language skills so they absorb language naturally - they 'learn' through play and other activities rather than being taught the language as a separate topic.

Perhaps, and anecdotally I would agree but they I don't think language skills are being suggested for early child care. Not sure numeracy and literacy naturally follows this path. Maybe not in certain aspects, but it's fairly clear now that the neural pathways that are associated with language are linked with musical ability, and that music and mathematics are strongly linked also.

Children with early music training show some of the same brain changes as bilingual children, so there is value is providing children with exposure to certain skills and concepts from a very early age. Has there been any longer term analysis on whether children who enter formal education earler are more or less likely to achieve better results years later, or whether they are any more likely to have stable and happy lives through their teen years?

And whether or not it matters once they hit university? At what point do we judge the success or otherwise, on an idividual basis? And how? Yes RJB, there have been many longitudal studies comparing the life and learning outcomes between children who received quality early learning from age 3 and those from the same socio-economic backgrounds who didn't. A US study which tracked disadvantaged children given access to pre-school from the age of three, found that by the time they were 40 they were more likely to have graduated from high school, have jobs and earn higher than average incomes, own their own home, and be less likely to be involved with crime.

Yes, but I'd find it hard to equate a study that looked at ' African Americans born in poverty and at high risk of failing in school' against your average Aussie child. But thanks for the link. Well said Emma and keep at them until something is done to improve the quality and accessibility of early childhood education in Australia. Such an important time in a child's development which has been overlooked for too long. Don't know why so many of the comments are about Tony Abbot's nannies. If we had a system of decent early childhood education for ALL, people wouldn't need nannies.

A really interesting article. Yes, we need a better approach for young children and education but children are not set on a path of failure if their experience is less than that desired. Their brains and personality of children are very adaptable and flexible. Children are amazing "sponges". For me, a lot of support and informal education was provided for my children by their grandparents and this would be true of many families. This was great as their approach was different to mine and the children could experience different ways of going about things.

I personally, also had a very large role to play in their early education. I was and still am under constant pressure to return to the workforce, as a degree qualified person. Apparently, society believes that I am wasting my time by being there for my children, by pursuing further studies and not earning a wage. I find that I question our society values as a whole, not just in regards to our young children. On your death bed, what is the most important thing in your life?

the adventures of a boy with sand in his shoes failure at the top in public school education Manual

Did you waste your chance? Emma - I am surprised that you don't seem to place any credence in parents doing more about preschool development. How hard was it in days gone by for parents to live within their means so that one parent could stay home to look after the toddlers.

The pressures of too much on the credit card is detrimental to children. Don't have children if you can't give them the best environment for at least 3. Their own parent, their own home, their own neighbourhood friends. Why should the Govt. It is interesting to see how the MSM responds to the scientific evidence on early brain development, and the implications of this for public policy family issues, education, diet, sleep, technology.

I can recall the mid 's, when research was starting to suggest that placing children in childcare if done too early, for too long per day, in poor quality childcare could have adverse effects on child development. Penelope Leach's anonymous survey of child mental health professionals was instructive here - their mean recommended time with mother was 2 years and many of the respondents would have been working mothers themselves. But almost none of the professionals were prepared to state what they thought publically.

So, the research did not make it into the mainstream media until the middle of the noughties ten years later. I still recall Steve Biddulph refusing to publish a book on the topic in Australia it was published overseas because he felt that such a topic could not be discussed sanely in Australia.