David Kohn in his blog discusses the pressing problem of too early teacher-led, didactic instruction that now starts at age of 4 or 5. Although at first it might be obvious that the earlier children start studying the better they master reading and math, there is now a growing evidence of the opposite effect. Scientists argue that such an early start might cause unnecessary stress, slow down kids’ emotional and cognitive development and even discourage children from active learning. It is argued also that this kind of education will produce people who simply consume information, but not discover and innovate.
David provides interesting examples of such countries as Finland and Estonia, where children start compulsory education only at age of 7, and still rank very high on math, science and reading, and discusses why this wouldn’t work in the US. He also mentions a couple of other interesting pieces of research on the subject, that prove early school entry provides no advantage and sometimes even worsen academic performance. He further talks about importance of the play for children’s development, attention and emotions’ control.
“This is not to suggest that we shouldn’t increase access to preschool, and improve early education for disadvantaged children. But the early education that kids get — whatever their socioeconomic background — should truly help their development”, David concludes.