First Things First

First Things First

A little girl comes home from her first day of school and exuberantly declares, “Mommy!  Mommy!  I learned to write today!”

Beaming with pride, her mother asks, “What did you write?”

The little girl frowns and responds, “How should I know.  I haven’t learned to read yet.”

I love that one because it underscores the adage that “earlier is not necessarily better.”  These days, so many young children are enrolled in programs that push them to start reading, writing, and doing arithmetic as soon as possible.  And while this may lead to some apparently impressive performances, as any expert in child development will tell you, it is ultimately counterproductive to the children’s educational progress.

While children in a play-based program may seem to be “falling behind” in those academic skills, it is critical to understand that what they are doing is building the essential foundations that will eventually support those skills.  They are collecting a wealth of experiences that will allow them to relate those skills to real things, making it infinitely easier to comprehend the elements and applications, and making the learning process considerably more effective and enjoyable.