Preschool shouldn’t be like school

March 18, 2011

Children are exposed to direct instruction at an earlier age than ever before.  Alison Gopnik writes in Slate of two independent studies in Why Preschool Shouldn’t be Like School and states that, “New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire.”

The studies worked with four-year-old children and show that it is important to let children have the opportunity to explore and find their own ways to play with a new toy rather than to only imitate the actions shown by a teacher.

Knowing what to expect from a teacher is a really good thing, of course: It lets you get the right answers more quickly than you would otherwise. Indeed, these studies show that 4-year-olds understand how teaching works and can learn from teachers. But there is an intrinsic trade-off between that kind of learning and the more wide-ranging learning that is so natural for young children. Knowing this, it’s more important than ever to give children’s remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies.”

via PW Children’s Bookshelf. Photo from

posting by Lorraine


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