The following excerpts from “Let the Kids Learn Through Play” By David Kohn on May 16, 2015 state what educators have always known.
“TWENTY years ago, kids in preschool, kindergarten and even first and second grade spent much of their time playing: building with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds, in their own heads or with classmates. But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects such as reading and math, and may never catch up. . .”
“But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement; in fact, it may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn. . .”
“Rebecca A. Marcon, a psychology professor at the University of North Florida, studied 343 children who had attended a preschool class that was “academically oriented,” one that encouraged “child initiated” learning, or one in between. She looked at the students’ performance several years later, in third and fourth grade, and found that by the end of the fourth grade those who had received more didactic instruction earned significantly lower grades than those who had been allowed more opportunities to learn through play.”
We must change the system of education so that it concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.
Making music, dance, and art the foundation of early childhood education excites the imagination, creating an interest and eagerness in children to learn about the world they will grow into.
Creating a developmentally appropriate, experiential curriculum that inspires children to question and explore their world, provides the impetus for the creative thinking necessary to solve the problems encountered in life.
Every child in America deserves to be educated in a free and public system of education that acknowledges and respects the gifts and talents they all possess.
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