Item description for Miseducation: PRESCHOOLERS AT RISK by David Elkind...
Overview Elkind reveals and explains the serious risks entailed in the current craze for giving formal academic and physical instructions to pre-school children four years old and younger.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.43" Width: 5.57" Height: 0.91" Weight: 0.66 lbs.
Release Date Nov 12, 1987
ISBN 0394756347 ISBN13 9780394756349
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More About David Elkind
David Elkind, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus at Tufts University and the author of a dozen books, including The Hurried Child and All Grown Up and No Place to Go. He lives outside of Boston and on Cape Cod.
David Elkind currently resides in Cape Cod, in the state of Massachusetts. David Elkind was born in 1931 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Tufts University.
Reviews - What do customers think about Miseducation: PRESCHOOLERS AT RISK?
Preschoolers At Risk May 17, 2007
This book is an excellent read for parents and educators/teachers of young children. Many early childhood education center teachers make the mistake of trying to teach too much academics to preschool age children and it is the children's loss. The value of play in learning is underestimated. Elkind gives a professional voice to a very important subject.
Twenty years after publication, still has relevance Mar 22, 2007
The author was writing a lot about the 80's "superkid" syndrome, but it still has relevance to parents today. He explores why so many of us are so fixated on "educating" preschoolers, and at younger ages than ever before. He points out how this can be detrimental, even when parents have the best of intentions.
That said, I think the reader will find certain things in this book dated. I don't think I've heard of anyone trying to teach his or her infant to swim in recent days. The 80s "superkid" syndrome is kind of ridiculed today. If you ever saw the 80s movie "Baby Boom", the scene where Diane Keaton is talking to the mothers in the park who are obsessing over preschools comes to mind.
To me, the dated parts were interesting in a historical sort of way, but the real value of the book was in how it examined what our preschoolers actually need, despite what the current trends may be.
An old book with a timeless message Jun 27, 2006
Elkind gets criticized a lot for pushing for parents to be "child-centered." I disagree. He's right. If you pursue things for your child taking into account their best interest that is what is called "parenting." The parent centered time is called "before children."
With that said, this book, with a great message, is choppy and ambiguous, particularly the first 100 pages. It could probably be condensed. I think his best point in the book is that just because something can be done early does not mean it should be done (his example: toilet training a 6 week old baby through the use of suppositories.)
That message, and properly identifying it earlier in the book, would have made this a much better read. With that said, I still gave the book 5 stars because the message is timeless. In this day and age of the pressures built into "No Child Left Behind," college students jumping off of buildings over academic pressure, and kids going to formal programs for things that used to be learned via general human interaction, there is no better time to read this and heed his wise advice.
Don't shrug off his message because you think he does not agree with your lifestyle. Simply read what he is saying and see what is worth incorporating and what you can comfortably disregard.
Deeply disappointed Oct 22, 2005
I picked up this book looking for thoroughly documented explanations as to why we shouldn't be sending our 2 year old to preschool. I was deeply disappointed to find a book full of sweeping generalizations, offensive assumptions, and poorly researched conclusions. It's obvious that the author feels very strongly about this subject: he comes out swinging, typecasting various sorts of parents and lobbing insults at any even remotely related parenting topic with which he happens to disagree. (For example, did you know that allowing your child to watch the birth of a younger sibling is tantamount to child abuse and will scar him or her for life?) I agreed with his basic premise before I picked it up but couldn't have been more disgusted by the time I put it down. I will have to continue the search for a well-researched book on this subject. Don't waste your money on this one.
Read a library copy Dec 28, 2003
I was deeply disappointed by this book. I was seeking a reasoned presentation of the case against early teaching, and instead ended up with this unsupported diatribe by a man who seems to misunderstand a lot of what he opposes.
The alarm bells went off early. In the first chapter Elkind repeatedly talks about "pushing" and "pressuring" children, using loaded language to try to turn us against the idea of teaching them. Someone should explain to him that it's only pushing if the child resists. I have also read the pro side of this controversy, particularly Glenn Doman, who emphasizes repeatedly that parent and child should both be having a wonderful time and you should stop immediately if that isn't so.
I could understand the casual use of loaded language, since this is a polemic. However, Elkind continues mischaracterizing left and right. He blithely slots parents who teach their young children into one of several cute categories, and proceeds to describe them in improbable detail. For instance, "Another group of parents want their children to become Olympic-class athletes or competitors. Gold-Medal parents tend to be in routine middle-management positions with little hope for advancement . . . ." And he goes on like that for some time, describing these so-called Gold-Medal parents as if everyone teaching their child a sport at a young age were precisely identical. And there are lots of other cute labels, like Outward Bound parents and Prodigy parents. Apparently we are to see people who teach their young children as "types" rather than as people. And these absurd stereotypes are not supported in any way; he just blandly asserts them as fact.
Elkind talks about one boy who was taught early and toilet-trained late, attempting to imply that these things are connected. But "late" toilet-training is quite common these days, and we see many three-year-olds in diapers whose parents have never taught them anything.
He also talks about one boy who was taught early and is doing quite well, and congratulates the mother on her son's good luck as if the boy had dodged a bullet. But he presents no statistics to back this up. He just thinks the boy must have been lucky because his happiness doesn't accord with Elkind's views on the dangers of early teaching.
Where are his figures on how taught vs. untaught children fare later in life? There aren't any. Although the "nine pages of notes and bibiography" mentioned by a previous reviewer do exist, many of them are references to things like _Time_ and _Money_. Others are citations of the works he's slamming. There's very little research cited, and he is obviously cherry-picking his sources.
I became disgusted with the book when I reached the part where Elkind argues that children should not be exposed to computer use. He briefly mentions Seymour Papert, the creator of LOGO, but takes the tone that this idea was outrageous and completely omits to mention Papert's impressive results. This is a fine example of the cherry-picking I mentioned.
He then makes a statement which is truly awesome in its ignorance. He asserts "The problem with such programs is that they presuppose a level of mental ability higher than that which they seek to encourage. Put differently, a child who really understands programming is at a sufficiently high level of mental development that learning programming is not really going to promote additional mental development."
Programming does not promote mental development, according to Elkind. But anyone who has ever learned to program, as a small child or an older child or a teenager or an adult, knows better. In fact it is difficult to think of anything which does more to promote mental development, although music and pure mathematics rival it. Perhaps the basic art of reading is even more effective, but Elkind is also against teaching small children to read!
Elkind suggests a set of blocks instead of LOGO. A set of blocks is great, but why on Earth can't a child have both?
This is already too long, so I'll end the blow-by-blow analysis. In summary, I suggest checking this book out of the library if you're curious about it. It certainly isn't worth a place in one's permanent home library.
I remain in search of a book which can make a reasoned case against early teaching of children who enjoy it. It's difficult to disagree with the idea that one shouldn't place tiny children in a high-pressure all-day academic program, but few people were ever arguing for that in the first place.