After reading the reports about the link between childcare and negative behavior problems later on, I thought it might be helpful to hear a parent’s take on the effect of pre-k on her son’s development. I decided to interview Ravon’s mother (“RM” for the remainder of the interview).
Ms. Pappas: Why did you decide to enroll Ravon in pre-k?
RM: I didn’t want a lot of play for Ravon. My younger brother was in your class the previous year, and I always liked the way you involved the parents in the homework assignments. I like the interaction with me and Ravon because I know what he is learning and we can work on further developing his listening and language skills together. Also, you still let them play in your classroom, but they learn through the play. Daycare was just play, play, color, color, all day long, but not enough learning.
Ms. Pappas: What do you think about recent studies that link childcare programs with negative behavior later on?
RM: Well, I used to work in daycare, so I agree. They tend to baby the kids instead of giving them ways to solve problems when they misbehave. They don’t explain things as much. The regular elementary school pre-k is different. You explain to the child why they are wrong and how they can correct themselves.
Ms. Pappas: How much education do you think a pre-k teacher needs in order to benefit children?
RM: I think experience goes a long way, often more than education. Some people with experience over education can deal with children better. My grandmother had no education and kept eight children in line.
Ms. Pappas: What are the benefits of pre-k?
RM: I have seen so much growth with Ravon. He’s expressing himself better. He’s more disciplined, and he wants to come to school. He doesn’t want to miss a day. My husband and I are so happy.
Ms. Pappas: What are your hopes for Ravon?
RM: Ravon can write, express himself more, interpret things better, read at least on his level.
Ms. Pappas: What about in the long run?
RM: I want my son to go to college. I want him to have a very decent job. I want him to enjoy what he does. It's not as much about the money. I really want him to be happy.