Taken from Practical Homeschooling Magazine #111


While the Obama administration is calling for more early formal education, in Britain, a “Too Much, Too Soon” campaign has started, calling for starting formal education later. Here are some quotes from Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, one of the campaign signatories:

“A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal “schooling” in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being)…

“[A] number of longitudinal studies have demonstrated superior academic, motivational and well-being outcomes for children who had attended child-initiated, play-based pre-school programmes….

“Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later….”

For more information, check out the “School Starting Age: The Evidence” page on the University of Cambridge site at this shortened URL.

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