Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Developing Young Minds From Conception to Kindergarten


Conception–K Schooling: Rich Rewards and Returns



Parenting
My schooling begins at birth, people!
Huge sums of federal and foundation funds have been injected into the education system—school reform efforts— over the last half-century in an attempt to bridge the learning gap. No silver bullet has surfaced. How can so much hard work, so much money, and the best intentions fail to produce some kind of “best practices” that work for educating our children?

Perhaps the critical question is not “How do children learn best” but “When do children learn best?” 



We cannot go back and rewire—remediate—a brain that has suffered an impoverished, or overly stressful early childhood in a K–12 setting. A dysfunctional home life can derail a child’s learning capacity altogether before the child even enters formal schooling.


But, to believe that children of poverty or children from particular races are genetically incapable of developing performance levels equal to those of higher-socioeconomic peers is racist and wrong. Clearly, babies learn, and teaching them in developmental appropriate manners changes their brains and ultimately their lives. The formation of the brain is critical to the success of intelligence and personality. It is the major factor in determining each person’s ultimate life experiences as an adult—their positive contribution, or not, to society.

If increasing student learning is the goal, funneling more billions into our schools is not money well spent. 


  • When a free and appropriate education begins in our maternity wards we will begin to see the learning gap bridged—and the need for welfare and prisons would be greatly reduced. 
  • Our society deserves high-quality home-assistance programs and free universal preschool for all. 
  • Preschool teachers should be respected as a vital part of "the system"—not the least-educated, least-paid, and least-recognized of educators.  
  • Parents and early caregivers need the information to do what they can to increase neural networking in infant brains from conception. No child should go unfed—not their stomachs, not their brains.

It is time to see the light—a vision of a moral, just, and enlightened society should become reality. The K–12 system learning problem does not lie between kindergarten and high school graduation at all but between the maternity ward and the kindergarten door.


*Developing Young Minds: from conception to kindergarten is the excellent book—buy it!—recently released by Dr. Rebecca Shore. She is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership in the college of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

*All of my 'editorial' rant herein is directly pulled from and completely attributed to the main thesis of Shore's book. She is a renewed inspiration for me, and a "kindred spirit". I will write more detailed of Shore's vision and 'salient points' in coming posts. 

To quote Shore's last line of her important book:

 "The infant brain needs more attention, more nurturing, more complexity, and we are all responsible for developing young minds.. Pass it on."

Happy New Year, in advance, to all the newborns of 2016!

Papa Green Bean