Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on Taking It at the Child's Pace

...this time from the Telegraph

"Like world peace, "early education" sounds like a no-brainer - how can anyone quibble with getting children off to a flying start? The problem is that academic hothousing is subject to the law of diminishing returns.

True, it can sometimes yield the sort of results that make teachers gawp and parents crow: but what about the longer term? Does all that early learning pay off later?

No. The latest research suggests that reaching learning milestones early is no guarantee of future academic stardom.

One study in Philadelphia found that, by the age of seven or eight, there was no discernible gap between the performance of children who spent their pre-school years in nurseries that were rigidly academic and those who came from laid-back, play-based ones. The only difference was that the hothoused kids tended to be more anxious and less creative."


"The argument that more testing and toil is the best way to shape them for life in the 21st century is starting to fray at the edges. A report by King's College London suggests that the cognitive development of British children is slowed by spending too little time messing around outdoors.

"By stressing only the basics - reading and writing - and testing like crazy you reduce the level of cognitive stimulation," says Philip Adey, professor of education at King's College. "Children have the facts but they are not thinking very well."

There's lots more of interest in the article - the problems with putting a child on a pedestal, for example.

Now all we would need is for the author to apply his theories to older children, using home educated kids as his control group!


Anonymous said...

I like that quote! 'Children have the facts but they are not thinking very well'!!! They are developing nicely, then, to fit in with most of the rest of Britain...

georgia said...

Naomi Aldort is v helpful', i think, about 'the problems with putting your child on a pedestal.' It also relates to the damage we can do if we are always rewarding or praising our children, rather than just letting them get on with it......