Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 22, 2014 / 22 Iyar, 5774

Of Kindergarteners and College Prep

By Lenore Skenazy




JewishWorldReview.com | A kindergarten in New York has canceled its end-of-the-year kiddie show in order to devote more time to college and career prep. In a letter to parents, the teachers explained:

"The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers, and problem solvers. Please ... know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind."

Now, I don't doubt that these teachers thought they were making the best possible decision. But having just read the mind-blowing book "Free to Learn," by Peter Gray — a research professor at Boston College, as well as author of the standard college textbook "Psychology" — I think the school is giving its poor prepped-out kids the very least of what they need the most: free time.

Free time to do what looks like absolutely Dartmouth-be-damned nothing: playing house, running around, feeding an animal — the stuff kids do when no one's teaching them that "diploma begins with D. Can you draw a D?"

The thing about playing is that it's not separate from learning. It is learning. In fact, if young kids aren't playing, chances are they are getting a fraction of the knowledge they would get if they were "just" goofing around. This will sound strange, but instructing kids may actually backfire.

Consider one scene Gray describes in his book. Two kindergarteners are looking at some Popsicle sticks with riddles on them. They're trying their very hardest to decipher them because they are so eager to get the jokes. The teacher confiscates the sticks so the kids can concentrate on the lesson she's teaching ... about the alphabet.

Do you honestly think they'll learn more when they return their attention to the lesson?



Here's another example from Gray's book: A researcher conducted an experiment on some 4- and 5-year-olds. She had a toy that you could make do four different things — squeak, light up, buzz ... whatever. She took a third of the kids into a room (one by one) and demonstrated how to make the toy squeak: You press this button here.

The second group she sort of ignored while she "played" with the toy and made it squeak, seemingly for her own fun.

The third group she simply handed the toy.

Later on, the second and third groups had discovered how to make the toy produce more effects than the kids in the first group had. Why? The kids in the first group were following instructions; they did what the teacher had shown them. The other groups played.

Gray's point: By "teaching" children the traditional way — sitting them down and spoon-feeding them information — we are actually making them less curious, more passive and, finally, less educated because all that gets into them is what the teacher tells them. Or at least a little bit of it. We are shutting down their natural inquisitiveness.

But unleashed from lesson plans, kids are on fire to learn. Need proof? They all learn how to speak! No classes required! Nowadays, kids also learn how to type. My sons, like their peers, type at lightning speed despite their having no keyboarding lessons. Their desire to communicate and have fun means they taught themselves. It was ... child's play!

Eventually, kids who are curious will want to learn from books, from teachers, from tech. But substituting top-down "education" for free play isn't preparing little kids for college or careers.

It's preparing them to check out.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Lenore Skenazy Archives

© 2014, Creators Syndicate.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast