— Here’s my piece on The Huffington Post, about the “college prep” kindergarten. It goes on to talk about the amazing Peter Gray:
A kindergarten in New York has cancelled its end-of-the-year kiddie show in order to devote more time to college and career prep. In a letter to parents, the teachers explained:
The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers. Please… know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind.
Now, I don’t doubt that these teachers THOUGHT they were making the best possible decision. But having just read the mind-blowing book, Free to Learn, by Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College as well as author of the standard college textbook, Psychology, it seems to me that school is giving its poor, prepped-out kids the very least of what they need the most: Free time.
Free time to do what looks like absolutely, Dartmouth-be-damned nothing: Playing house, running around, feeding an animal — the stuff kids do when no one’s teaching them that “Diploma begins with D. Can you draw a D?”
The thing about playing is that it’s not separate from learning. It IS learning. In fact, if young kids aren’t playing, chances are they are getting a fraction of the knowledge they would get if they were “just” goofing around. This will sound strange but instructing kids may actually backfire.
Read the rest here.