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Pondering preschool

Gwen Zeiter.

Although I haven’t seen her in literally decades, just the mention of her name brings back a simpler time when I was juggling diapers and toys and homework assignments instead of deadlines, schedules and story assignments.

Gwen was a preschool teacher when my children were little, and she had the great (and dubious) pleasure of teaching all four of my children.

Gwen was a born teacher, and she helped give my children an educational boost that has helped them to this day.

She didn’t do it by herself, of course. There were numerous teachers and aides who were part of the seven years my children went to preschool.

We moved when my oldest was 4. Truthfully, sending her to preschool had never occurred to me when she was 3.

But our new home had an excellent, highly-sought after preschool, and we decided to send her as a 4 year old.

It was a great decision. The school had an academic focus, and she got a head start on her reading and numbers.

We were so pleased we sent her sister and brothers for two years, and I firmly believe all that preschool teaching was a great help in them all being successful in school.

So I was bemused the other day when I read a column by Phyllis Schlafly.

Schlafly was irate the president ended his State of the Union speech by calling for pre-kindergarten programs for most children.

Schlafly didn’t even want to call it school, instead referring to it as “daycare” and “baby-sitting.”

She said the proposals are “just a reprise of the perennial feminist demand for government-paid daycare. The feminists believe it’s part of the war on women by the patriarchy for society to expect mothers to care for their children, and they should be relieved of this burden by the taxpayers.”


Well, Schlafly is certainly entitled to her opinion, but I wonder when she was last in a pre-K classroom. I have no doubt there are some sub-par programs that are indeed little more than baby-sitting, but I also know the value of a good program and the benefits it can give children.

I’ve been in early childhood classrooms here in Bureau County, and I’ve seen the benefits a good program can provide.

My children were fortunate that we could afford to pay for a good preschool that gave them a head start on their schooling.

I’m troubled that some people think the children of parents who can’t afford it, should suffer the loss.

I bet Gwen Zeiter would agree.

BCR Staff Writer Barb Kromphardt can be reached at bkromphardt@bcrnews.com.


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