Should Children Spend More Time Playing And Start School Later?

This article from Forbes, like many, frames the debate around the question of when kid should start school. Too Much Too Soon: Why Children Should Spend More Time Playing And Start School Later

The polar opposing sides argue for earlier or later start ages. The issue is framed around relative value of play versus “early intervention” so to speak.

It’s the wrong question. There’s plenty of kids who would benefit from starting school experiences at five or four and younger. The issue isn’t so much when, as it is giving people the freedom to choose and most importantly, understanding that play is a tool for brain development. Children’s play is the outgrowth of what’s called “private play” (internal and external fantasy play). The next stage of play, including playing with others, is central to developing the executive function of problem-solving. In children’s play, kids get to try things out, solutions to problems, and experiment with the physical and social world.

Don’t choose one over the other. Create different opprtunities in early childhood education with the right balance of acrtivities.

Recess should be renamed and re-imagined at that age. At any age.

About Sanford

Learning Disabilities specialist and Educational Consultant
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3 Responses to Should Children Spend More Time Playing And Start School Later?

  1. Richard says:

    Amen Sandy. I agree. One size does not fit all and in the case of American education, does not fit many.

  2. Sanford says:

    Yes Richard, agreed. Further, professionals need to reframe “play” as “experimentation.” That way it can become a part of study and learning for content areas.

  3. Katherine says:

    My son, now 14, attended a summer camp when he was five. Midway through the camp, the well seasoned teacher in his class came to me and said, “do not send him to kindergarden at this time. He is a good kid but not ready.”
    I took her advice. It could have also involved a “mother’s instinct.” Instead, I sent him to a school for one year that focused on the Reggio method. The school only went from pre-school to kindergarden. I did not know much back then except I wanted my very active son in a learning environment that understood him. It worked out quite well. It worked for my child. My son “thanks” me today for having him start kindergarten at his regular school at six years and not five years. Each child has their journey. As a mom, I truly wanted him in a place where his learning style could be understood. I wish I could go back and thank that teacher, though now, I don’t her name but her boldness helped me understand my son better.

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