What happened to storytime?

Time's up, put your crayons down

Stolen playtime means forcing young children to learn academic skills during a time when their most important "job" is to play.

Why is there such a rush to teach kids how to read, spell and do math? "My kid can count to 30 and yours can only count to 10! My kid can spell his name but the rest of the kids in kindergarten can't. My child has difficulty with her ABCs - I'm worried" Is it about bragging? Is it about our fear that if kids don't read and count by age three they will grow up illiterate? Why do we spend/waste so much energy to try and teach kids stuff before they are ready to learn them? Sooner isn't always better! The pressure is on and kids feel it. They will have such low self-esteem if we tell them that they aren't smart because their academic skills aren't meeting our expectations. Every minute we force kids to sit still and learn academic skills while they are very young we steal playtime from them!

Somewhere, in every mainstream parenting magazine, there is always an ad that goes something like this: "Equip your children with early learning, pre-literacy and basic math skills and bring the most out of them to prepare them for a successful start in life! Programs available for 1-3 year olds." Then kids go to pre-school to get ready for school. Sometimes they are screened to get in. Why not call it play-house? How can we talk about success in life for a 1-3 year old? What exactly makes a 1-3 year old successful? Actually, a lot of things but not math, I can tell you that much.

Update: At 5, I still don't feel that my daughter is behind in her class just because she isn't reading yet. She can ride her bicycle and sing beautifully, she asks clever questions and runs around happily all day. I'm not worried.

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