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Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk Paperback – November 12, 1987


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Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk + The Hurried Child-25th Anniversary Edition + The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394756347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394756349
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Elkind, author of The Hurried Child, is a child-study specialist (at Tufts University) of eminent common sense who is critical of fads and whom parents would do well to heed, especially those intent on pre-educating their preschoolers to prepare them for formal study with the same frenzy with which they groom themselves for career success. Development in toddlers, he cautions, can be seriously damaged by parents' well-meaning rush to give them a head-start on education or in sports. Preschoolers ought to be encouraged in their spontaneous learning rather than given formal instruction that teaches them "the wrong things at the wrong time," he stresses, citing several popular baby institutes of learning to emphasize his criticism. Elkind quotes experts such as Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson, reviews child-development studies and the controversy surrounding preschool educationand firmly advises parents not to miseducate their children, but allow them, even precocious ones, to excel at their own speed.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The author of The Hurried Child and All Grown Up and No Place To Go now turns his attention to the recent phenomenon of producing "superkid" preschoolers. Elkind protests the proliferation of all-day kindergarten programs, academic preschools, and programs and materials designed to teach young children how to read, compute, ski, etc. He contends that such early formal instruction "miseducates" children and often subjects them to stress and long-term personality damage. His arguments are compelling and well-substantiated. Written primarily for parents, the book will interest all concerned with the education of young children. While Elkind's message will be unpopular with many, his book should be in public libraries and education collections. Patricia Smith Butcher, Trenton State Coll. Lib., N.J.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Brief Resume
David Elkind

David Elkind is currently Professor emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He was formerly Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education at the University of Rochester. Professor Elkind obtained his doctorate at U.C.L.A. and then spent a year as David Rapaport's research assistant at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1964 65 he was a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at Piaget's Institut d' Epistemologie Genetique in Geneva. His research has been in the areas of perceptual, cognitive and social development where he has attempted to build upon the research and theory of Jean Piaget.

Professor Elkind's bibliography now numbers over five \hundred items and includes research, theoretical articles, book chapters and eighteen books. In addition he has published more popular pieces such as children's stories in Jack and Jill, biographies of famous psychologists in the New York Times Magazine, as well as presentations of his own work in journals such as Good Housekeeping, Parade and Psychology Today. Some of his recent articles include Computers and Young Children, The Authority of the Brain, The Cosmopolitan School, On Becoming a Grandfather, and Thanks for the Memory: Froebel and Montessori. Perhaps Professor Elkind is best known for his popular books, The Hurried Child, All Grown Up and No Place to Go, Miseducation, Ties that Stress and most recently The Power of Play: Learning what comes naturally. In preparation is a new book tentatively entitled, The Stages of Parenthood: Growing up with Our Children.

Professor Elkind is a member of many professional organizations, is on the Editorial Board of numerous scientific journals, is a consultant to state education departments, as well as to government agencies and private foundations. He lectures extensively in the United States, Canada and abroad. He has appeared on The Today Show, The CBS Morning News, Twenty/Twenty, Nightline, Donahue, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He has been profiled in People and Boston Magazine and was a Contributing Editor to Parents Magazine. Professor Elkind also co-hosted the Lifetime television series, Kids These Days. He is a past President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Professor Elkind is currently the chief scientific advisor for JustAskBaby, and internet service for parents.

Customer Reviews

The value of play in learning is underestimated.
L. Marta
In case you're trying to decide which Elkind book to read I will say that the content this book was what I had expected from The Hurried Child.
Kimberly Sacha
There's very little research cited, and he is obviously cherry-picking his sources.
M. Hollingsworth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you work with preschoolers, you probably have been presured to do activities and/or lessons that are not age appropriate. This book will help you explain what your are doing and why. It also will help you revise your program elimnating some activities and goals and replacing them with better activities and goals.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Sacha on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'd heard that this book was better written and more well-researched than Elkind's other disappointing book, The Hurried Child. But I found that he still spent the first third of this book with the same unsupported, curmudgeonly rantings. In case you're trying to decide which Elkind book to read I will say that the content this book was what I had expected from The Hurried Child. In the Hurried Child, Elkind focuses on influences such as divorce, latch-key kids and TV. In Miseducation, he focuses on the academic versus play programs of home and early childhood education.

The Miseducation spends the first few chapters insulting every possible type of parent - even those that read his books (p.31)! He has these stereotyping titles like "college-degree parents" and "goumet parents" which imply that there is something wrong with having an education and cultural experiences and wanting the same for your children. If you read this book, I'd skip the first few chapters and start with chapter five. Chapter four covers computers and can be forgiven since it was written in 1987. They're no longer a status symbol, but he's right in that there's no real value in them for young children.

I doubt that Elkind has ever been a stay at home parent, because he grossly misunderstands why these parents take their children to programs such as Gymboree. Simply put: we need to get out of the house!! We don't go because we think it will turn our kid into the next Michael Jordan. It's rainy outside and playgrounds are made for school-age children. We just need a safe and dry place to play with our kids, which you would think a proponent of play would be fully supportive of. Later in the book he does say Gymboree may pose no problem (p. 162). Now I'm just confused as to his stance.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful By P-Town Mom on April 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Dr. Elkind is not suggesting that young children should not be taught. Instead he is educating the public on the *appropriate* way to teach these very special members of our population. He offers nine pages of notes/bibliography to support his sound child development theories. At the time of publication he had logged in about 25 years in the early childhood field, which I think makes him an "expert". I have a degree in e.c.e. & taught pre-k for over a decade. Trust me, this book is right on target. I highly recommend it, especially for parents who are feeling pressured to have "superkids".
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108 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Sharp on December 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
In the "Questions Parents Ask" section of this book Mr. Elkind is asked: "So what is going to happen? According to you, we are miseducating large numbers of young children, so what does this mean with regard to the future?"
Mr. Elkind answers: "I have no crystal ball...My guess is that the teenagers of the nineties will be more neurotic than teenagers today. They will show more obsessions, more compulsions, more phobias, more psychosomatic symptoms than do teenagers today. ...What I cannot really predict is the extent of the problem."
This book was published in 1987. The preschoolers of that time are today's teenagers - the same teenagers who are bringing guns to school and killing their teachers and classmates. While I believe the causes for these horrific behaviors are manifold, I also believe Mr. Elkind has made a valid point, he certainly has my attention.
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133 of 171 people found the following review helpful By M. Hollingsworth on December 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was deeply disappointed by this book. I was seeking a reasoned presentation of the case against early teaching, and instead ended up with this unsupported diatribe by a man who seems to misunderstand a lot of what he opposes.

The alarm bells went off early. In the first chapter Elkind repeatedly talks about "pushing" and "pressuring" children, using loaded language to try to turn us against the idea of teaching them. Someone should explain to him that it's only pushing if the child resists. I have also read the pro side of this controversy, particularly Glenn Doman, who emphasizes repeatedly that parent and child should both be having a wonderful time and you should stop immediately if that isn't so.

I could understand the casual use of loaded language, since this is a polemic. However, Elkind continues mischaracterizing left and right. He blithely slots parents who teach their young children into one of several cute categories, and proceeds to describe them in improbable detail. For instance, "Another group of parents want their children to become Olympic-class athletes or competitors. Gold-Medal parents tend to be in routine middle-management positions with little hope for advancement . . . ." And he goes on like that for some time, describing these so-called Gold-Medal parents as if everyone teaching their child a sport at a young age were precisely identical. And there are lots of other cute labels, like Outward Bound parents and Prodigy parents. Apparently we are to see people who teach their young children as "types" rather than as people. And these absurd stereotypes are not supported in any way; he just blandly asserts them as fact.
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