Education Letter to the Editor

To Help Toddlers, First School the Parents

February 21, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As a professor and educator, I read Samuel J. Meisels’ Jan. 25, 2006, Commentary on early-childhood education with interest, and then with shock and dismay (“Universal Pre-K: What About the Babies?”). I kept waiting for him to write, “But it’s ridiculous to put infants and toddlers into ‘school’ and expect the outcome to be anything but poor.” Sadly, he never did.

It is true that there are plenty of substandard parents out there, but taking their children and putting them into an institutional “educational” setting for any number of hours each day is not the answer. Babies and toddlers need to be reared by their own families—not placed into day care. Children fail emotionally and mentally, and even academically, when they do not have the strong bond of family. No amount of taking children away from substandard (but not legally incompetent, abusive, or neglectful) parents is going to solve any problem in our nation’s education system.

The solution is “school” for parents. Parenting classes would go a long way toward educating them in how to rear their children in a loving, warm, and supportive environment. Providing poor parents with books and teaching them how to cuddle their children on their laps and read to them would go much further than having children spend hours away from their families. If that means we need to teach parents how to read, so be it.

Let’s help solve the problem, not make a larger one by ignoring the root cause. Parents can be taught how to parent children. We should not remove children from their parents during their early years just because we think that somehow we are better than parents at rearing children. This is a dangerous and slippery slope to head down.

Alisa Griffis

Instructional Adviser

School of Education

Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, Ind.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 2006 edition of Education Week as To Help Toddlers, First School the Parents


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)