The Globe and Mail ran a leading article on November 25/03 that revealed the preliminary results of the $34 million research project Understanding the Early Years. Bottom line, the facts are in we have to start to work hard to help kids get ready to learn before they go to school. The issue is parenting and the driver is not poverty in terms of money but poverty in terms of ability to parent.
Some key findings:
In the Dixie Bloor area of Peel Region, 3 communities of 80,000 people just west of Toronto, 28% of 5 and 6 year olds lack the language skills to graduate from senior Kindergarten to Grade 1. Yet the area has fewer low income families (earning under $25,000) than the Canadian average. 18.8% versus 22% for the nation. A high proportion of single mums, recent immigrants and weak community have given these kids a poor start the study says.
The numbers suggest that in a typical class of 25, 7 kids are in over their heads. (Likely to be 5 boys and 2 girls)
A separate study by Peel school board found that boys are much more likely to be unready for school than girls. "Too often, the difficulties these children face are painfully obvious from the early stages. Equally obvious is that many will never catch up".
We are going to have to rethink "education". We can no longer think of it as something that the schools do alone. The future of our kids is with us, their parents and the time to get involved is before they are born