How much did you know when you were 6 years old? Not too much I bet. As society gets older its more and more important that we have early childhood education. Early childhood education is the term often used for describing the education of young children from birth to age 8. Although early childhood education has existed since the creation of kindergarten in the 1800's, the last decade has seen a tremendous amount of attention devoted to the subject of early education for young children (www.ncrel.org).
The first national goal focuses mainly on the childhood years: "By the year 2001 all children in America will start school ready to learn. (earlyeducation.com) From the time to birth most children are ready to learn. It is the teachers and parents responsibility to how much the child will learn. The current education practice of testing children for kindergarten entry and placement, raising the entrance age to kindergarten, adding an extra transitional year between first grade and kindergarten, and detaining children in preschool, kindergarten or first grade are attempts to obtain an older more capable cohort of children at each grade level (www.nwrel.org). The educational strategies, I think, suggest that the current expectations do not match the development level of the children and the grade level they are in. People may often blame the children for not being able to keep up with their grade level, when really it's the educators or parents faults.
The 1980's saw many calls for widespread school changing in the teacher's education, graduation requirements, school structure, and accountability measures. With the advent of the 1900's school reform finally took on the essential question: What to teach (Rothman, 1989). The following national organizations all helped making the large changes: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, The American Association for the advancement of Science, the International