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Two or three decades ago, when Joy School started, most parents seemed to think that getting their preschoolers an academic head start was the most important thing. IQ and learning to read early and being ahead when they started Kindergarten seemed to be what every parent thought were the keys to success.

Well, not EVERY parent. There were some parents, and Richard and Linda Eyre were among them, who thought that little kids deserved an actual childhood. The Eyres believed that being well adjusted socially and emotionally was much more important for preschoolers than learning to read or add or do square roots earlier than their peers. The Eyres’ “radical” idea was that parents should be most interested in the happiness level of their kids—in their JQ or Joy Quotient rather than their IQ.

Joy School was born from that thought process.

As time went by, the Eyre’s opinion was backed up by a lot of kindergarten teachers who said how that rather than an academically head-started kid, they would rather have a Joy School graduate who knew the joy of sharing, the joy of order, the joy of self reliance, the joy of curiosity and creativity and the other Joy School Joys.

There is plenty of time to learn academic subjects, and kids who have learned the social and emotional “Joys” are going to be the best learners. (And just to be sure, there is a “kindergarten readiness” add-on to Joy School that does get kids academically ready.)

We only have a couple of short years with these precious three- and four-year olds, and we ought to protect that time and use it to teach them the most valuable things there are—namely the joys of living!

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