None of my children have ever been to pre-school, or school for that matter, and I am always alert for news articles and research on the benefits of institutional education. So I had a quick read and could not resist another opportunity to pull out my soapbox.
The first paragraph states:
Going to a good pre-school nursery boosts a child's chances of achieving in
maths at the age of 10, experts say.
But the second seems to say something different:
A long-term UK study by academics found the biggest influence on a child's
achievement in maths at 10 was the education of their mother.
In fact it goes on:
They say what they call a good "home learning environment" is crucial.
Researchers found many examples where a mother's lower level of education was
more than made up for by parents creating a good home learning environment
through the activities they did with their children.
Once again, I am struck by the disparity between the substance and the conclusion. It seems to me that this article is saying that what I do at home with my children is just as important and effective as pre-school might be, that I have chosen a valid and research-supported alternative.
However, the final paragraph reads:
The study showed how focussing on aspects of a child's life which could be
changed - such as access to good nursery and primary schools - could improve
their education and chances in life.
I don't understand why supporting those mothers who choose to stay at home and create that good learning environment, taking on the responsibility of their children's education, is not seen as equally important as improving access to educational institutions. Despite the research on which this article is based clearly showing the home to be equal to the pre-school, it is being used as another piece in the argument to send children to school earlier and earlier. It reminds me of someone with their hands over their ears, singing loudly, "I can't hear you!" It's not that I think that all children should be Home Educated, but I would like to see Home Ed presented in the media as a choice which is valid and well backed up by both research and experience and one that should be embraced as a viable alternative.