By Terry Vanderheyden

BERKELEY, California, November 10, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Preschool has a negative effect on a child’s social and emotional development, according to a study of 14,000 US preschool children.

The new research from University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, found that the social skills of white, middle-class children suffer – in terms of cooperation, sharing and engagement in classroom tasks – after attending preschool centers for more than six hours a day, compared to similar children who remain at home with a parent prior to starting school.

“The biggest eye-opener is that the suppression of social and emotional development, stemming from long hours in preschool, is felt most strongly by children from better-off families,” said UC Berkeley sociologist and co-author Bruce Fuller.

On average, the report found that the earlier a child enters a preschool center, the slower his or her pace of social development. “Our results for the intensity of attending a center program – measured in hours per week and months per year – are worrisome, while varying across different types of families and children,” the report stated.

A growing list of state governors is making large investments to offer free, publicly-supported preschools for all children, echoing advocate’s claims that this will boost the early learning of most children.

A Liberal government proposal to provide state-funded daycare to all preschool children suggests that Canada must commence full time governmental child care earlier – at age three – for “all kids at all times.” Liberal MP Maria Minna went so far last fall as to stress that state-controlled “early education” programs are “very fundamental to the development of the child.”

A Harvard Longitudinal Study found that daycare children are significantly disadvantaged in later life by the inability to form psychological attachments. The younger the age at which children are put in daycare, the worse is this effect.

A study released in 2001 found that the more hours children spend in daycare, the more likely they are to become aggressive, disobedient, and defiant by the time they are in kindergarten.

Morningstar Educational Network sponsors a national outreach called Considering Homeschooling Ministry, which encourages parents to care for and preschool their young children at home. “These negative social behaviors children are displaying are getting worse,” said Denise Kanter, a Morningstar research advisor. “In December of 2003, Time Magazine reported on the consequences of negative emotional and social problems among young children. In Time’s report, the child-advocacy group Partnership for Children survey showed that 93 percent of 39 schools responding said kindergartners today “have more emotional and behavioral problems than were seen just five years ago.”

A majority of day-care centers, which host the tiniest tots, revealed that “incidents of rage and anger” have increased over the past three years. Time’s further quotes the survey leader as explaining, “We’re talking about children – a 3-year-old in one instance – who will take a fork and stab another child in the forehead. We’re talking about a wide range of explosive behaviors, and it’s a growing problem.”

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
  World’s Foremost Child Care Study Shows Day Care Leads To Aggression
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2001/apr/01042403.html
  Many U.S. Day Care Centers Harmful: Study
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/1999/apr/99041207.html
  Conservative Woman MP Slams Liberal Party’s Child Care Plan as Sexist
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/feb/05021605.html