I want to shout from a soapbox : stop pushing children to do everything early, stop trying to accelerate them as though they are cars and life is a race to rush through as speedily as possible .
Why have formal lessons teaching reading at 4 going on 5 when they learn much more quickly at 6? By the time they reach 8 yrs old the age at which they learnt to read makes no difference to their enjoyment and comprehension.
And do primary aged children really need to know how to name and use a fronted adverbial , one of many grammatical terms stipulated in the national curriculum .
Yes, teachers can teach the overload of grammatical terms currently required , and children are learning them but at great cost . Art , music , history , geography , physical activity and more are being squeezed out of school time.
Moreover, maths educators are now saying firmly that taking things slowly at the start builds a firm foundation for mathematical concepts for the future . Playing with bricks in early years is of more value than pen and paper sums whether in school or as homework.
And what about the prodigies? Evidence suggests time for play is even more important for them to give them life skills as well as space for self directed investigation and experimentation . The history of young mathematicians starting at university in their early teens is not a happy one . Those who have their head in a book from a very early age need to learn to enjoy physical activity for their own well being.
My cry is thus : give children the time and space to flourish now so they can flourish as adults.
On 16 August 1819, at St Peter’s Field, Manchester a peaceful rally of 60,000 pro-democracy reformers, men, women and children, was attacked by armed cavalry resulting in 15 deaths and over 600 injuries. This is commonly called Peterloo and it is an important radical event in British history. Everyday people voiced their opinions and made a stand for free speech and popular democracy.
To commemorate in a small way the courage and determination of Peterloo we have invited church people of St Chrysostom’s to contribute a blog post on a subject about which they have concern and passion. We are calling this small blog series #soapbox.