This New York Times article, published on May 16, 2015, details how the increasing push towards early academics is well-intentioned, but misguided. Children's potential might actually be hampered in the long run by academic instruction that doesn't match the child's development.
Per the experts, play based learning is the best approach for children under the age of 7 or 8. “Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,” says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. “But it’s essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.”
Green Meadow students play an instrument from third through twelfth grades. This article highlights some of the neurological benefits. We know there are many other benefits as well, both tangible and intangible.
This piece from The Washington Post is worth reading. Our favorite quote: "I also believe that competence can only be gained through experience; therefore, allowing our children to take risks will actually make them safer. Behind this philosophy is a strong trust in children’s abilities in general; I often feel that we don’t give children enough credit in this area."
This recent piece from The New York Times reminds us of the importance of letting our children have experiences that build their resilience and self-confidence.
A salient quote: "Dr. Gray links the astronomical rise in childhood depression and anxiety disorders, which are five to eight times more common than they were in the 1950s, to the decline in free play among young children. 'Young people today are less likely to have a sense of control over their own lives and more likely to feel they are the victims of circumstances, which is predictive of anxiety and depression,' he said."
This article from Psychology Today looks at a 2012 study documenting a continuous decline in creativity among American schoolchildren over the last two or three decades. The research suggests that play and curiosity are foundations for learning. They are also the bedrock of Waldorf Education.