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  1. #1
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    Default early education -

    I just came across this interesting bit of information. What do you think?
    Should our five year olds be doing academic work or playing?


    . . . a major study undertaken in Germany comparing 100 public schools classes for five year olds. 50 of them had only play in their program and the other 50 had academics and play together. The children entered first grade when they were six, and the study surveyed their progress until they were ten. The first year there was little difference to be seen. By the time the children were ten, however, those who had been allowed to just play when they were five surpassed their schoolmates in every area measured. One can imagine how startling these results were to the state educators. They considered the results so conclusive that within months they had converted all of the academic programs back to play programs.

    Joan Almon, "What Are the Needs of the Five-Year Olds?"
    Leading Forth, Journal of the Waldorf School of Baltimore, Spring 1988, No.4, pp.5-6
    Quoted in Rahima Baldwin Dancy’s You Are Your Child’s First Teacher

  2. #2
    mckenziecat is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default I hope this is a well done study and gets some

    recognition but seriously doubt the type A parents around me will listen.
    I think my kids were pushed way too much in k and 1st and it's one of the reasons I held them back in pre-k so they started at 6. I believe this is true for most children - they learn out of the sheer joy of learning, but we make it such a chore for them that they lose interest. Right now I'm dealing with 1st graders cheating on the accelerated reader program at our school - which is OPTIONAL and does not affect grades. But we have made what should be their natural joy for reading into something that must be rewarded and are reaping the effects of that.
    Interesting study, thanks for sharing.
    beth

  3. #3
    jknyc is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I think five year olds should still be playing, and that's one of the reasons I love our school district. Kids start K if they turn 5 by the end of the calendar year. Very few people hold their age-eligible kids back and wait until they are 6 to start. But our kindergarten is what kindergarten should be. It is not academic.

    There is no pressure to start reading in kindergarten, though many children do. I hate hearing from parents in other school districts that their first graders have spelling tests every week or math drills. I think it's a good way to burn out kids at a young age.

    I think the type A parents who push their kids to very early academic pressures are only showing their own lack of self-confidence and lack of confidence in their kids. This is the soapbox, so I can share that, right?

  4. #4
    ahava is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    That would have been nice, Im still dealing with confidence in reading issue w/ my 6 year old. I should have had him start K a year later ... He was 5y11d when he started and had to go into a "special" reading group outside his class because he still was not reading indep. half way through the year.

    Now in 1st grade, he is a little behind but not so bad and in the adv math class.

    Go figure. And yes in 1st grade, weekly math tests and spelling.

  5. #5
    Reese14 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default I agree with all of this....

    My older DS was an early reader. Not by pressure, just by interest. When he went to Kindergarten it was a little more laid back.

    My younger one, I believe, has some learning disabilities. He wasn't even close to reading in kindergarten, which became much more intense. He's in first now, and starting to read, albeit at a low level. He's very discouraged being at such a low level while his friends are on chapter books. It's hard to be in a school district where parents push their kids (and I agree with your reasoning) and your child is bringing up with rear, even with tons of extra help at school and home.

    I have never been an advocate of pushing children academically at a young age, and have children on both ends of the spectrum of academic abilities.

  6. #6
    HethD is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by mckenziecat View Post
    Right now I'm dealing with 1st graders cheating on the accelerated reader program at our school - which is OPTIONAL and does not affect grades. But we have made what should be their natural joy for reading into something that must be rewarded and are reaping the effects of that.
    Interesting study, thanks for sharing.
    beth
    I'm not an AR fan. Our district transitioned into it years ago from a reading program that encouraged the kids to read *any* book from different genres and actually write about them in reports. Now they're encouraged to only read AR books and take multiple choice tests. Regression, IMO.

    It broke my heart as I worked our school's recent book fair and a girl really wanted to buy a new release book, but the parents refused because it didn't have an AR test yet. They wanted her to buy a book that would keep her AR score up. Seriously. I almost asked them if I could buy it for her.

  7. #7
    jenm is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I believe 5 year old children should be playing, and I further believe that the emphasis on early academic work is detrimental for many children, particularly boys.

  8. #8
    Katie2 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Add me to the list of people who think 5-year-olds should be playing.

  9. #9
    sfpierce is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default I'm a bit more mixed

    I think it is OK for 5 yo's to read (some of the German programs won't teach or encourage until they have permanent teeth). BUT, academics should not be pushed on them at all and the focus should be play and socializing. The one piece of homework my ds has NEVER done consistently (and we don't make him and the teachers don't care) is his reading log (where he has to write down every day what he read and how many pages, etc.). Ds LOVES to read and we aren't going to turn it into a chore/homework by making him record it all -- and the teachers know he is reading as much (more) than he is required to.

  10. #10
    LL2 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfpierce View Post
    The one piece of homework my ds has NEVER done consistently (and we don't make him and the teachers don't care) is his reading log (where he has to write down every day what he read and how many pages, etc.). Ds LOVES to read and we aren't going to turn it into a chore/homework by making him record it all -- and the teachers know he is reading as much (more) than he is required to.
    Anecdote for you - my SO is a reading teacher and this year is the first year DS has had a required reading log. She also requires a reading log in her classes, but she has totally simplified and downplayed it for her students this year because until she had to do one as a parent, she never realized what a complete annoyance and PITA the things were!

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