While this may seem logical, the importance of play should not be underestimated. The format of lessons, as I discussed in my first blog post, is critical. If children can learn without even realizing it, they will not only absorb important information faster, they will have a more positive experience doing it. Their relationship with education will begin on a good note, rather than experiencing the stress that is associated with earlier formal schooling.
This trend is in alignment with other recent education movements that push teaching to standardized tests over creativity in the classroom. The frustration that teachers are feeling as a consequence of this came up in both interviews with educators that I had the honor of conducting for this blog. But the government and administrations are focusing in on scores and benchmarks over individual experiences with education. There are obviously reasons behind this approach, including America’s performance in comparison to other countries and the need to stay competitive in a globalized world.
However, the statistics aren’t showing that taking out play time is accomplishing these goals. As I see it, this will only hurt students in the long run. A child will be spending many years in school; their first impression of it should be a good one, rather than a stressful one. The presentation of material should make students want to learn, at any level. Thus, I believe that these stricter education trends should be reevaluated.
Do you believe ‘the earlier, the better’ for formal education or that play time has long-term benefits in a child’s education?
New York Times: Let the Kids Learn Through Play