More on Academic Kindergarten
Readers of today’s post on academic kindergarten raised a concern that kids who are ready for reading and writing and arithmetic at age 5 could be held back in a class that doesn’t stimulate them in an academic way.
Advocates of a more kid-friendly kindergarten are not suggesting that anybody be “held back” so that kids less advanced can catch up. A child who can read should, obviously, be encouraged to read. A 5-year-old who understands the concept of infinity should explore whatever he/she wants to explore.
The question is about how the non-Einsteins of this age learn best.
Do they learn better by sitting for hours and filling out worksheets--even if they are able to do it--or by engaging in sophisticated forms of play that help build problem-solving and other skills and by hands-on learning that allows them to explore?
I’d vote for the latter, and research bears this out.
There is among some parents a great need to push their kids; witness the frenzy in some places as parents try to get their 5-year-olds in “gifted and talented” programs.
Kids are, by the way, selected for these programs on the basis of the results of tests that are known to be unreliable for young kids. But the selection goes on anyway.
Because a child CAN sit and learn how to take a standardized test doesn’t mean a child SHOULD.
Figuring out the right balance is the key. The problem is that in too many places, there is no balance. There is a tilt in the wrong direction.
September 21, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
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