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October 28, 2005

Stress @ education

Britain's unhealthy obsession with formal education appears to be stressing out the country's youngest children. A recent story in The Guardian reports that toddlers starting at nursery, after being at home since birth, experience high levels of stress in the first weeks after separating from their mothers, and are still showing "chronic mild stress" as long as five months after their first day in the new environment. Remember, we're talking here about children as young as eleven months old. I repeatedly tell my British friends that in Switzerland, children don't go to school until they are seven years old - and yet the country scores third in OECD world rankings for educational attainment. Does anyone know of comparative data on stress among children (and their parents) in different countries? It would be instructive to compare the two league tables.

Posted by John Thackara at October 28, 2005 10:17 AM


John -

Though I have been unable to find (at a quick glance) any sources in english, I know for a fact that issues like these are addressed here in Denmark. I have a daughter of 6 and I remember the attention shown by personal at the nursery, kindergarten etc., and the feedback to us parents (divorced since *sigh*) about signs of our little apple-of-the-eye feeling off - it's part of their education to do so.
Here, children start in pre-school at six (yes, she did, and she is loving it) but many if not most are at some sort of daycare from - my estimated average - 10-14 months of age because of the living costs here: No one can support a family on one income, at least not anywhere near a major city (this is a whole different issue!).
I'll se if I can get around to finding some documentation about this...

Jesper W. of Cph

Posted by: Jesper Wille at November 4, 2005 01:57 PM

Look for Diane Keith's article in Home Education Magazine (homeedmag.com) on the dangers of Universal Preschool.

Elizabeth Barnet

Posted by: Elizabeth Barnet at November 7, 2005 04:58 PM

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