Hi Readers — Lovely article by Tara Parker-Pope in today’s New York Times about how we have been led astray by the flashcard mentality that says the more we DRILL our littlest students the SMARTER they become.
On the surface of it, the drilling idea makes sense: Why not efficiently shove info into our kids? Here’s the info, kids: Shove it!
But all the research (not to mention a million years of human development BEFORE flashcards) is suggesting that the way kids really learn is through PLAY. Even a game like Simon Says — or a variation that’s “Do the Opposite of What Simon Says” — can give a lot more developmental boost than another afternoon of learning “F is for Foot.”
While the game may sound simple, it actually requires a high level of cognitive function for a preschooler, including focus and attention, working memory to remember rules, mental flexibility (to do the opposite) and self-control.
“We tend to equate learning with the content of learning, with what information children have, rather than the how of learning,” says Ellen Galinsky, a child-development researcher and author of “Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs.” “But focusing on the how of learning, on executive functions, gives you the skills to learn new information, which is why they tend to be so predictive of long-term success.”
You probably know that I dislike having to endorse a Free-Range approach because it is actually a “long-term success” incubator. But, hey, if you’re talking to parents who really believe LESS playtime means their kids will be MORE triumphant, it’s not bad to have a little ammo. – L.
Filed under: Helicopter Effect on Kids, Parks, Playing and Playgrounds, Uncategorized Tagged: | development, early childhood, Einstein, flash cards, flashcards, free play, importance of play, kindergarten play, make kids smart, play makes kids smarter, raise a smart child, school and play