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|NUMBER 238||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||NOVEMBER 2005|
|Animal Studies Behind Promotion of |
Early Childhood Education
In An Early Childhood Research Agenda: Voices from the Field (2001), researcher Marilyn Fleer cites Loraine Corrie's investigations that were published in "Neuroscience and early childhood? A dangerous liaison," Australian Journal of Early Childhood, Vol. 25, 2000, 34-40: "...Corrie...argues that the majority of research that is used to support the importance of the early years has been conducted on animals. She states that approximately one percent of studies since the 1970s listed in Psychlit involve children (the number of studies reviewed was 12,395). In addition, she states that a breakdown of subjects in the studies reported between 1990 and 1999 shows that 62 percent of studies were performed on rats, 3.3 percent on adults, and only .94 of a percent on children. In examining the studies conducted on humans, she concludes that in most cases the sample sizes reported in individual studies were around four to five children. In addition, some articles drew upon the same original piece of scientific research, thus reducing the number of total studies further. Corrie concludes that it is still too early to be persuaded that the neuroscience research offers definitive evidence for the importance of early childhood education."
Fleer also points out that researchers have questioned claims made by those using brain-based research to promote early education. Criticism of "methodological integrity of the claims" includes limited studies with humans, "over-citation of a limited few neuroscience studies," small sample sizes involving humans, and more.