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The intensification of parenting

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According to Aussie educational tutoring giant Kumon one in five of their clients are pre-schoolers. In fact, the pre-schooler market has brought the greatest growth in the industry over the last five years.

A report in The Sunday Age suggests that increasingly parents are looking at giving their kids a head start in the learning stakes. There’s been a huge increase in the number of parents wanting their children to start school being able to read, write and count.

This is at a time when many countries are delaying the start of school for children until seven giving kids more time at home and in quality pre-school programs.

The research is clear. Children learn when they are ready to learn. While a child may start school being able to read, often his fellow pupils catch up when readiness to learn kicks in. As a former literacy consultant with the Victorian Education Department I’ve seen repeatedly how children rapidly ‘get’ reading and writing when they are developmentally ready.

I suspect many parents intuitively understand this but many are fearful that if they don’t invest early in their child’s education, somehow their child will be doomed to failure.

Such is the intensification of parenting that for many children pressure to succeed and competition now starts before they even begin school.

It sounds a little perverse but in an era when kids have so much, I’m not so sure I’d like to be a child right now.  I think I could live without the formality and pressure at least until I was five.



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