The pros and cons that exist about early childhood is about learning to read, write and count which is still be debatable in the community. Parents always encourage their children to be able to master reading, writing, and counting even before entering early childhood education.
Parents will do everything they want to make their children able to read, write and count earlier. On the other hand, the "Calistung" program is also recommended by the government to parents and children so that they can get quality education to make better education in Indonesia.
However, many people do not know that reading, writing, and counting early are not good for children who have not reached their age. Negative arguments come from researchers and academics regarding the application of “Calistung” for early childhood.
They are worried that if children have been forced to study since childhood, it will not be effective for the condition of the child's psychologist. The contradictory opinion is also in line with the researcher from Swiss, Jean Piaget, who stated that education in reading, writing and counting should not be given to children under the age of 7 years.
Then, what exactly is the reason why "Calistung" is not suitable to be applied in early childhood? Furthermore, why do parents force their children to learn "Calistung" from an early age?
In this case, teaching "Calistung" to children early has negative impacts on child’s mind. Basically, not all children can absorb learning materials easily because they are too young to be given reading, writing and counting materials. If the child can not accept the materials, but they still be forced it will not good for them.
They won’t study well. Therefore, education in kindergarten even before kindergarten is not permitted to teach “Calistung” material directly as individual learning to children. Children must be guided so that they can learn easily and pleasantly.
If it is related to Piaget's theory, the problem of "Calistung" is closely related to the 4 stages of theory of development. The first development theory is sensorimotor stage from birth to 2 years, in this stage the child's behaviour is motoric and only able to use a sense system to understand the environment.
The second stage is pre-operational, which ranges from 2 to 7 years old, where children observe and imitate something based on what they see. The third stage, which is the concrete operational of children aged from 7 to 11 years where children able to solve problems logically.
The fourth stage is formal operation at the age of 11 years to adulthood. At this stage the child can imagine abstract things and think with reason.
In the context of "Calistung", children should be taught at concrete operational stages. The reason is to understand reading, writing, and counting children have to master the ability to understand concrete and structured things.
However, "Calistung" in Indonesia is applied when the child is still in the pre-operational stage. This is the problem, the child will not be good in learning "Calistung".
The reason is because at that time children could not think of concrete operations so what is feared is that the "Calistung" lesson would burden those who had not been able to think structurally.
According to Piaget, the theory development of children depends on the activities and psychological state of the child in living it. The child will grow and develop if he is able to pass the development stages mentioned above.
If the child does something that is not in accordance with the stage, he can be said to be not well developed, as in the case of "Calistung" that occurs in Indonesian children. They will not be able to develop well if they are forced to read, write, and count which they are not ready to do.
These things will only make children stressed and not enthusiastic about learning.
The solution that can be done is by providing learning that is fun and easy to understand by children. The introduction of counting in children, especially under the age of seven, can be done by counting while playing or singing.
The other way is by giving the education to the parents about the importance of the real education besides about “Calistung”. This way can’t be done simply, government should give the education to the public especially for parents. So, student, parents, and government should work together.