Fast Learning’s Failure

Periodically, a good article is published reporting on a common-sense result that, in hindsight, is entirely unsurprising. In Parenting I write about the importance of learning to learn- of developing an inquisitive and curious eye, which is about noticing and communication being privileged far and away above specific technical skills. In the current Atlantic, Erika Christakis’ article, How the New Preschool is Crushing Kids, summarizes a number of recent results regarding just how over-teaching preschool programs focus so heavily on tactical skills development in learners that, come kindergarten, the students are far less prepared to learn — to be themselves. The lesson in all this? Childhood cannot be hurried. Knowledge cannot be force-fed. Our children need the time and space to explore, to learn to have wonder about all around them, and to explore slowly, gently and with depth and clarity. None of that aligns with standardized tests, columns of skills or early literacy programmes. Let’s keep first grade out of preschool!


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