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Libby Simon

What daycare can never do

It is often said that education is the cornerstone of a civilized society. The foundation for learning begins long before formal schooling starts. But two questions arise: What do we mean by education and how should it be delivered? Certainly, no one argues that education begins at birth. The first tools children need to learn evolve within the family, our first school. The basis of that education lies in developing trust, love and empathy, which unfolds in our first relationships, not in academic skills. The best foundation for learning the three “Rs” (Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic) are what could be called the three “Ss” – Safety, Security and Stability. These are the underlying substructures of education. When these three basics are provided, many emotional, behavioural and academic concerns fall by the wayside, as well as the costs associated with them. For this reason, early learning programs, today moving toward younger ages outside the home, will always fall short in providing a solid basis for lifelong learning.The knowledge that education begins at birth with families in the home is reinforced by academics. According to Daniel Goleman, a renowned psychologist, children learn fundamental lessons in the family unit that last for a lifetime.John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, and the father of attachment theory, emphasized the significance of our first bond with the mother (or substitute) in an historic study in Attachment and Loss. Attachment is essential in developing trust and empathy and is the root for establishing meaningful relationships with others. It is a necessary prerequisite to a successful learner and is learned within a safe, secure and stable home with a consistent caregiver. The recent explosion in neuroscience research can now show that these developmental changes are neurologically and biologically based. For example, The Canadian Institute of Child Health in Ottawa reports that the… Read More