I thought, facetiously, to headline this post with something about how they had finally started to deal with the true juvenile delinquents, or something like that. But this is nothing to laugh about, and is an indication of the extent of the failure in our early education system rather than the fault of the children, of course. While it has been recognized that early group daycare and preschool help socialize children, the corollary is that entering preschoolers are still essentially unsocialized. You don’t expel them for their behavior, you teach them, competently, to behave differently. (We sometimes make the same mistake in my field, the treatment of the acutely mentally ill — demanding they change some troublesome behavioral symptom before we can treat them rather than remembering we must treat their illness before their behavior can change.)
If we are going to place more and more children sooner and sooner in childcare situations so their parent or parents can continue to work fulltime (to earn the money to afford childcare…), careers in early childhood education have to be socially valued, encouraged and supported rather than remaining a marginal afterthought. No disrespect, by the way, intended to the daycare workers and preschool teachers, who are usually dedicated and heroic and always undercompensated for what they do.