Expert balks at kindergarten boarding schools

Parents and child care givers have been warned against sending children to primary boarding schools at an age of three to eight years because of potential psychological effects due to separation from family environment.

Professor Akundaeli Mbise, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Curriculum Studies at the School of Education of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) told The Guardian on Sunday in an exclusive interview early this week that at such an early age, children need to receive parental care as this is the basic elementary knowledge needed for them for proper psychological development and maturity.

Prof. Mbise who has specialized in Early Childhood Education noted that sending children to a boarding facility at such an early age denies them basic rights of continuous communication with their parents, as the basis of their social, physical and intellectual stimulation, before they are ready for an autonomous life in school.

Children’s admission into boarding primary schools at an early age has a negative effect that leads to poor emotional growth.

“Sending children to boarding schools under eight years means you are separating them from their parents as most of them become frustrated emotionally,” he said, noting that children so treated get distressed. They develop a low sense of attachment to family and eventually to those around them, when denied parental care.

Losing parental warmth may lead to developing negative behavior for lack of cooperation, low level of sympathy, exposure to bullying among children with nowhere to transfer the sense of stress, leading to fear, seeking revenge, etc.

Sending children to boarding school for class one admission at an early age should not be in a boarding school, he stated, elaborating that this has a positive outcome as there is no bad effect if the child is trained properly at school. Early teaching gives the child confidence to work hard in order to maintain learning achievements.

Early childhood education is recommended for mental development between five and seven years old is also social, when they meet fellow children at school. Social behavior becomes more cooperative among them and more easily and also they support one another in different matters.

Normal childhood education in Tanzania is mixed up with principal education whereby primary school teachers teach children how to read and write. But as for the development of children this is not enough as teachers may also use numbers for everyday home environments.

Developing pre-reading habits prepares the children for a stage where, once sent to start standard one, they should not be in difficulty, which requires preparing the right materials for them. Commenting on the fee structure charged by private schools in the country, Prof. Mbise said that there should be a regulator to control ranges of the fees in order to enable students to afford fees

The government would be in a position to grade schools on the basis of standards that students would know from the types of services they provide, he added.

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