Just how hard should kindergarteners be pushed to learn? For years, the debate has raged about whether kindergarten has become “the new first grade.”
EarlyStories has seen countless studies and articles on the topic, and listened to many arguments about why the new accountability and standards in vogue in education mean that the youngest learners have to quickly acquire academic skills.
But what is lost? In one Queens, New York elementary school, students — and their parents — missed the sand, water, kitchens, tables and dress-up areas that were once part of their classrooms. They’ve been replaced by whiteboards, drill sheets and worksheets on their desks, according to a story in the New York Times.
And so the children took matters into their own hands, and signed a letter asking for more unstructured time, extra recess and a better recess. They got some of what they asked for.
EarlyStories has been debating this topic on radio shows with some great experts, including a piece on the value of movement to the learning and developmental process and another that looked at why children are often burned out by third grade.
So do we bring back the play areas or hit the books hard to keep the U.S. competitive with neighboring countries?