The media have raised issues about community concerns that perhaps children are not coping with formal work at such an early age. I think it is more likely that the formal METHODS are not working.
Young children LOVE to learn and are ready to learn some early literacy and numeracy concepts. The problems start when we think they ALL must be ready at the SAME time and will learn at the same pace!
Young children learn best with a multisensory approach,
rich in creative experiences such as art, music and drama.
Most are not going to enjoy or benefit from working from workbooks and worksheets.
There are so many ways to teach literacy with a rich, “hands-on” approach. When workbooks and worksheets are constantly used, the power of the curriculum is being passed to the work-sheet writers and sellers.
Early childhood experts have raised many legitimate concerns over the last few years but still we can see very young children trying hard to make their letters or numbers on a page when they could (more easily) be writing them in sand pits, on huge whiteboards, or even large sheets of paper with crayons.
We have become a worksheet obsessed educational community and parents are picking up on this and keeping children back until their children can cope with this approach.
The answer is simple. Just change the methods of teaching. Pre-school and early childhood teachers are well-aware of the best ways to teach. Let them get on with it rather than insisting young children should learn like older children. Most of them simply don’t have the fine-motor skills or concentration to do this. By using age-appropriate methods the children will enjoy the learning process and probably learn more! Very definitely they won’t start to think of themselves as failures at 3 and 4 years of age!
For many years we restricted children’s access to early learning opportunities. Research has proven us wrong. However, we must choose the correct tools to enable all youngsters to attain success.
It’s sad to see parents holding children back from what should be one of the most exciting and enjoyable phases of their lives!
Read these well researched articles for more information and ideas for appropriate teaching strategies for young children.
It is vital that we stop using inappropriate teaching strategies with young children and provide them with rich, multisensory and stimulating learning environments!