The Keys to Preschool Success

In the United States and elsewhere, there is an ongoing war between two schools of thought as far as educational success and excellence are concerned.

The Keys to Preschool Success

On a certain level, this debate is actually not all that new. In fact, this debate has been raging throughout hundreds of years among different schools of philosophy.

In broad terms, the debate really boils down to internal versus external factors. In other words, are people the products of nature or nurture?

You probably are already aware at some level or another regarding the intricacies and details of this debate. But for our present purposes, let me supply a recap.

The nature school is essentially saying that people are not blank slates. People already bring some sort of value collection or personal principle to any situation they find themselves in. While these are not necessarily instinctive and they may not necessarily know what to do when certain situations arise, they are informed by internal considerations so they end up taking certain actions that vary from person to person, depending on what these internal values are. The number one input of those values or number one source of those values involve the family as well as culture and geographic origin.

The other side of the equation assumes that people really are blank slates. When people enter any kind of situation, they really don’t have anything from a previous experience because they’re looking at the experience from a completely novel way.

This is the first time they have come across that experience, and as a result, the quality of their interaction and, more importantly, how they will respond to a similar situation in the future is greatly influenced by the external circumstances they have. In other words, their feelings, their resources and their inputs play a big role in how they’re going to process these challenges should these challenges arise in the future.

As you can well imagine, this distinction between internal and external factors lead to vastly divergent policy prescriptions. Externalists would say that you need to invest in a tremendous amount of resources to ensure that your kids succeed well, not only in school, but in life in general. Not only do you spend on these resources when they’re in school, but these resources have to be provided at a fairly even clip throughout their life.

In other words, kids have to be plugged into a long term input system so they don’t fail. The assumption being that once the inputs are cut off, kids do not become self-sustaining units and they are not guaranteed or assured success.

The internalist school, on the other hand, focuses on establishing foundations. The thinking is, as long as kids are reached by educational authorities at the most formative years of their lives and they are taught certain core fundamental values, then these values will become self-sustaining regardless of whether the kids are plugged into a poor environment or a rich environment.

Regardless of how they’re feeling or their psychological or emotional states, they would always come back to these values. These values will always remain an open and an available option to them.

What makes this all difficult and trying is the fact that the evidence leads to mixed results. It’s not really all that clear, at least at this point in time, which emphasis leads to a more efficient and desirable outcome.

As far as the school systems and parents are concerned, the obvious choice would be a system that doesn’t require long term, large scale expensive inputs. But the jury is still out as to which of these schools really provide the very best value on a pound per pound and year by year basis.