This is interesting, in terms of what age kids should start school, what happens to kids with special needs and to gifted children in the present overly academic environment.
This is the headline of Deborah Orr’s article, “Children are sent to school too young in the UK. Special educational needs affect all ability levels. As other European models show, many children may be suited to less prescriptive learning – and a later start.”
I especially like, “There are many reasons why it’s not necessarily a good idea to get children learning in an academic way at too early an age. People tend to think that this puts more pressure on the less bright kids. Actually, it’s not terribly good for the majority of children – academically or psychologically. But, interestingly, it can be the brightest children who fare least well, when their natural curiosity about the world, and instinctive eagerness to learn about it, is institutionally curtailed in favour of prescriptive learning.”
Maintaining and nurturing my kids ‘natural curiosity about the world, and instinctive eagerness to learn about it’ is high on my homeschooling priority list and much better done at home I think.
“It seems like a ghastly dystopian vision, the idea that children are being forced into formal schooling too early, then being diagnosed with learning difficulties when they react badly to the straitjacket that has been laced around their intellect at too tender an age. This must be particularly awful for children whose intellect isn’t stimulated enough at home. Imagine. You find yourself in an environment where there are books and toys, other children to play with, adults who engage with you, then just as the possibilities of the world are blossoming like fireworks in your head, you’re told to sit down, be quiet, somehow silence that synaptic explosion, and concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. People in Britain don’t seem to understand how damaging our desire to get our children on to the three Rs as early as possible can be.”
I love Orr’s description of the situation, “straitjacket that has been laced around their intellect at too tender an age” and “…you’re told to sit down, be quiet, somehow silence that synaptic explosion” . I felt that both these situations were happening to my son at school and although I wasn’t worried about his academic achievement I was very worried about his happiness. He was miserable at school and now he is a much more confident person, much happier in his own individual skin.
Here’s to delayed academics!