Day 86 (of 188) when to being “learning”?
This week saw the sharing of an article by @valeriestrauss about the “Common Core” and it requiring kindergarteners to read: www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/13/report-requiring-kindergartners-to-read-as-common-core-does-may-harm-some
This led to a couple of online discussions, including a great blog by @chriswejr about kindergarten “readiness” http://chriswejr.com/2015/01/13/lets-rethink-kindergarten-readiness/#.VLaVm-AP380.twitter
and a @chrkennedy blog about “when to start school” http://cultureofyes.ca/2015/01/12/have-your-kids-early-in-the-year/
and it led me to some thinking…because I was born on December 14th, entered school with my cohort based on the same ‘year of manufacture’ (as sir ken robinson would put it) and had a “successful” school experience (honour rolls, graduation, etc) whereas my sister was born on December 15th, and had some “struggles” throughout her time in school. Same nature; same nurture but different experiences in “the game of school”.
But my advice to parents (when asked) is “no matter which choice you make/made, it was the right one” – I don’t think being in ‘the next cohort’ would have benefitted me in any way (easy in hindsight) but there is an athlete-connection that Malcolm Gladwell makes (most top athletes born in first 1/4 of year as they are “almost a year” older than december ‘rivals’ for playing time”) that is evident when my daughter hits the hardwood….she’s a February kid…
I would like to wonder if maybe my football time would have been longer (and more productive if I was the ‘oldest’ in the class, yet in hindsight I don’t think I would have made the phonecall to UBC to see if i could “walk on” if it had been ‘the next year’ – my parents made the right choice.
And there is no “one” right answer (hmmm, harkens back to my recent blog about ‘one size fits all‘) – in fact, I enjoyed an article about a study done in 1929 that had “no math” learned by students until grade 7…by the end of the year, they had ‘caught up’… an article talked about in this blog critiquing it: http://larrysanger.org/2011/06/should-we-teach-math-in-elementary-school/ and with regards to reading, not everybody worries about 5 year old readers, in Finland schooling doesn’t start until children are 7 http://www.newamerica.net/blog/early-ed-watch/2008/how-finland-educates-youngest-children-9029 and they are one of the ‘must watch’ educational jurisdictions.
There are lots of ‘reports’ and experts opinions on the topic of when to begin “schooling”. If there was “a” right time to start, I think we would’ve figured that date out. Instead, I think it’s good to have the discussion, because that then turns to talking about ‘learning readiness’ and ‘age appropriate learning’ -both of which are NOT one size fits all, and might have some language around ‘date of manufacture’, but has flexibility within it.
With a niece about to enter kindergarten next september (January 4th birthday) and friends in our community who were nervous about their child possibly being born before Jan 1 and “likely delaying school entry” (now not a worry as everyone is STILL waiting…!) and for both couples, “when to start school” and “what do they need to know” is already on their minds….and has been for awhile…
and always leads to good discussions!