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Kindy Bootcamp: The Truth Behind the Popular Education Technique for Young Learners

As parents and caregivers, we want the best for our children. We want to provide them with every opportunity to succeed, both in their educational career and in life.

But at what cost?

Kindy bootcamps—programs that claim to get children as young as three and four “school ready”—have been gaining popularity in recent years as more parents are willing to spend mind-boggling sums on the chance these programs will put their child ahead of the pack academically.

And there’s no shortage of tutors in Australia—according to the Australian Tutoring Association, there are more than 4,000 tutoring businesses in the country, and parents are paying as much as $1000 for six months of tutoring.

The question is…is it necessary? Let’s take a look.

What is Kindy Bootcamp?

Kindy bootcamps are specifically designed for pre-school learners with the intent of getting them ready for their formal education. Camps often state they will help preschoolers learn their alphabet, numbers, basic mathematical concepts…and the correct way to hold a pencil.

Parents and caregivers can spend an average of $30 for group tutoring classes and $80 – $200 and up for an hour of individual tutoring.

What are the Benefits?

According to Kumon, on of Australia’s leading tutoring businesses, young learners benefit from their program in three ways:

  • They develop a positive attitude about learning

  • They learn important study skills

  • They develop fine motor skills that “exceed the expectations of kindergarten”

For parents, the appeal of their child exceeding expectations is a large part of why they enroll in such programs. Many want their child to understand basic educational concepts early in the hopes it will improve their child’s ability to succeed academically.

Parents of children who have thrived in tutoring programs insist their children soaked up the material and the results were happy and confident students who were years ahead of classmates academically.

What are the Concerns?

Educators, however, are not sold on the idea of starting high-pressure learning too early. The idea of three- and four-year-olds heading home with homework each week is jarring. Some programs tout the fact that learning is more structured in their environments when compared to the unstructured play that occurs in childcare centers.

Yet play is such an integral part of learning (if you’ve missed our previous articles about the importance of play-based learning, you can read them here and here).

Many educators worry about the “push down” effect as children are expected, at increasingly younger ages, to behave and perform as older children do…without enjoying the experiences of childhood.

There’s also concern that the expectation to perform academically is coming at an earlier age when children are developing at different rates. Emotionally maturity and meeting developmental milestones should be taken into account before placing a child in a rigorous learning environment.

Finally, many teachers and educators are concerned at the number of tutors guiding the education of children who have no teaching or educational background. Many tutoring businesses are unregulated and have no qualification requirements for employees.v

What is the Answer?

At the end of the day, there is no single right answer. The answer will depend on the development of each child. Three- and four-year-olds are wonderfully unique, with different strengths and characteristics that make that personality you love so perfectly special.

And your young learner shouldn’t feel pressure to reach a level designated by a school as “on target”. If you have a child who is constantly curious and eager to learn, you may want to consider supplementing their learning with a class that celebrates their inquisitive mind and encourages asking questions about the world around them. Find a class led by an accredited teacher and give it a try. If they love the new learning environment…wonderful!

If they don’t, remember that’s okay, too. Children learn at their own rates, and not every child will be ready for structured learning at the same time. Keep introducing them to new concepts and continue encouraging them to interact with children of the same age.

And remember to offer plenty of opportunity to engage in play-based learning. It is the holy grail of education for young learners. It is the kind of work three- and four-year-olds should engage in. And it provides an opportunity for lessons your child will carry with them into their academic careers and beyond.

Don’t assume a kindy bootcamp is going to take care of all the educational needs of your child.

There’s so much more to the world.

There’s so much more to life.

Make sure play and wonder and discovery are an integral part of it.

For any more information, call Clovel Childcare and Early Learning Centre, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. For any information about our Educational Programs, give us a call at 02 9199 0294 or fill in this contact us form.

Thanks for reading,
Clovel Childcare
1300 863 986

 

References

Sydney Morning Herald

WSWS article

The Conversation

Financial Review

Kid Spot

The Conversation