Gabor Maté, in the Ottawa Citizen, on why we shouldn’t rush into “full-day learning”:
The child’s brain is programmed by nature to attach, to connect — but it will connect to anyone, whoever is around. And who is around for our kids from an early age? Other kids. In the absence of the nurturing adult, our children connect with one another, a process psychologist Gordon Neufeld has termed “peer orientation.” The result is developmental disaster.
For the first time in history, we have the mass phenomenon of many children being more influenced by their peers than by mature, caring adults. The Ontario day care proposals, which in many cases will extend the time children are away from their primary caregivers, raise the risk of accelerating the destructive processes of peer orientation. Full day early schooling is, potentially, a recipe for peer orientation and its attendant negative consequences.