Somewhere along the line, the face of public school education changed against all the advice and knowledge gained in the field of developmental psychology.
Our kindergartens now have morphed into places that resemble first-grade or second-grade classroom. This state of development seems to be rooted in the thinking that the kids “better get used to it”. Things that kids in the past used to experience only when they’re older are now being meted out to kids much younger with the (ridiculous) assumption that bad things are gonna happen to them later, so we may as well make these bad things happen to them earlier!
Developmental psychologists have been informing us that kids at a such and such ages can only comprehend this much, do this much, and nothing good comes out of forcing kids to do things they are not necessarily developmentally ready to do. Every child is different, and forcing a child to do something he/she is not ready for (even though another child may cope okay) can be damaging.
It ignores natural development and growth processes and assumes things will be better as a result of that.
I think it’s kind of sad that in this day and age, when economic activity around the world seems so fragile and many families struggle to survive on just one breadwinner’s salary because wages have not risen in line with inflation, that many families feel forced to have 2 working parents instead of just 1 so the other can raise their children the way nature intended, that our schools now have become such difficult places for kids to thrive in, that have become such massive breeding grounds for bullying. The number of school children self-harming or committing suicide today is staggering and unprecedented compared to the past in the entire history of compulsory schooling.
We’ve got to ask ourselves why things have got to this point. Perhaps the bottom line is we should respect what makes children children, and honour that by not allowing them to be pushed into earlier and earlier standardised testing and academic “rigour”. Let them play unstructured for a while longer. Let them be who they are.
And meanwhile, we try to do the best for our children. This is what all good parents do. And, we just hope for the best.