By Ben Mardell, Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education & Lesley University;
Lisa Fiore, Lesley University;
Marina Boni, Early Childhood Department, Boston Public Schools;
Melissa Tonachel, Mission Hill School, Boston Public Schools
Driven by concerns about future economic competitiveness and the need for a well-educated workforce, the education and care of American preschoolers is in the midst of a profound transformation. Increasing numbers of 3 and 4 year olds are receiving a significant part of their education and care out of their homes. The potential of increased government funding raises the promise of improving the quality and availability of this education, vastly improving the lives of young children. At the same time, classroom practices ill suited for preschoolers raise the specter of a brave new world of early education that will do more harm than good, both to the immediate quality of children’s experiences and the long-term impact of early education.