Slow Schooling: Can A Child's Development Be Sped Up?

Forget about toilet training, or foregoing the sippy-cup, or ridding your child of a pacifier. There are many other concerns once your child starts walking and talking!

Should a child be reading fluently by the age of 4 years? Should a kindergartener have homework? Will your 6 year old enter first grade, or be moved into 2nd? Should your 5 year old be able to consider fairly complex mathematics, let alone spell their own name? And what about tests for the youngest grades? Better yet, will any of it really matter in the long term?

Whether home schooling, or public/private schooling, these ideas are a concern in the education of our youngsters. There are many parents who would say YES, it does make a difference and helps the child excel later. Others say that 'Slow Schooling' is the way to go - that good ol' fashioned method of letting children basically be children until they just can't any more. And, does a child get more development out of testing, reading, writing, etc at a young age - or moreso from being allowed to play and pretend and create?

There's an interesting article in this last Weekend's NY Times that I'd like to share with you. It is written by Peggy Orenstein. For those of you out there who believe that the idea of progressiveness lays in urging kids to learn the basics (and more), then this might not be for you. But, if you believe, like I do a bit, that 'Slow Schooling' might be more considerate in the long term, then you will find it interesting. Either way, I'm sure we'll hear comments on both sides....
what do you think?


Kathy said...

I love this quote by Casals on the matter:

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?

We should say to them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.

You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”

Pablo Casals (1876-1973)

Gette said...

Thanks for this article! I've been having this gut feeling that tells me the same thing.

I also love the quote by Casals.

yogamama75 said...

I loved your discussion and link to the "Slow Schooling" article. I am a Montessori teacher for 3-6 year olds and wish every child could be in a Montessori school. The needs of the children are put first and addition is a game played with friends. Children learn about "describing words" by setting up animals on a farm and then following the teachers clues to find "the strong bull" or
"the eating sheep". Movement is built into the morning work cycle and children make flower arrangements, walk heel to toe on a line, or experiment with sound and shape. Homework is truly "work of the home" in the Montessori philosophy. Children participate in making dinner, cleaning the house, folding laundry, washing the car...