New Survey Finds Young Kids Are Pushed Too Hard

While high standards are vital to future academic success, it’s also important that goals are kept at an age-appropriate level.

Curriculum writers can get overly ambitious when designing course maps for young children, says a new report by The Source For Learning and the National Head Start Association. The report, released just in time to coincide with the 39th annual NHSA Head Start conference scheduled to take place later this month, also found that most educators and experts in early childhood education thought that rigorous standards are nevertheless vital in preparing kids for later schoolwork.

To compile the data, the authors canvassed teachers and administrators who specialize in pre-K, and more than half of the respondents have over 20 years of experience in the area.

71.1% of respondents say that “higher, more rigorous expectations for children in early
childhood” will not better prepare children for success in school and life. And 71.3% say
that “rigorous expectations for 3- and 4-year old children push inappropriate academic
content and unreasonable expectations down into the early years.

Still, nearly 77% also felt that high standards in the areas of literacy and numeracy were essential in making sure that students have good academic outcome later. To reach the goal of preparing kids for tackling kindergarten and beyond, 90% believe that rigorous curriculum is key, but the goals must be kept at developmentally appropriate level and

emphasizing progress across five domains (language and literacy, cognition and general knowledge, approaches towards learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development).

The main goal of the survey is to allow conference attendees to understand the differing readiness standards across the nation and then work to create craft a general definition that could be used by all American school districts.

The goal of this project is to recommend a general definition of school readiness and a set of competency goals that align early education into the ‘cradle-to-career’ continuum using recognized research in child development and the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten.” The Common Core, adopted in 46 states, provides standards that inform educators what children should know and be able to do after completing kindergarten.

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