Are academics good for young children? Podcast Episode 305

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As a preschool teacher I used to get asked all the time about when we would be teaching reading. Or writing.
I could see the stunned disbelief on parents’ faces when we’d tell them “we don’t teach formal academics, children learn everything they need through play.”
It’s patently awful, and damaging, to force kids into academic learning too soon.
And yet it’s done all the time.
In this episode we discuss why, and what to do about it.

Plus in Parenting News:
I have been getting a lot out of the Live Above the Noise podcast, and so I want to highlight that for parenting news this week!

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(Links to everything talked about in this episode, plus a cheat sheet about the ideas we discussed, at : )

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Nope, instructional, seated, teaching of academics isn’t good for young kids. So what is?

1. The correct teaching method.
A good teacher brings in “academic” subjects, and uses them in games and other play for children.

2. Open-ended, unscripted play.
Even more important than the teacher bringing in academics: children’s ability to play on their own, without screens, in an open-ended way. The BEST teachers are frequently facilitators, bringing out innate qualities in the children instead of “teaching.”

This is known.
This is not new. There’s been good research on how children learn best since at least the late 90s, when I earned my master’s degree.
I hope today’s episode helps you take heart, and work towards what is right in education for your own child, and our whole society.

Key Links

Here is the NYT Parenting article that started it all, “Early Education is More Demanding than Ever, and Experts Have Concerns”

Click here for episode 300, which comes up in today’s episode.

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