KOODAKPRESS

Early years children learn by playing

According to koodakpress، I agree with Alex Beard’s excellent long read (3 April), in which he explores the notion that seeing children as learning machines does not help every child reach their full potential. Children learn through play. Creative activity is the main springboard for the basic skills. Play is messy, play is empowering, play is life-enhancing, play […]

According to koodakpress، I agree with Alex Beard’s excellent long read (3 April), in which he explores the notion that seeing children as learning machines does not help every child reach their full potential. Children learn through play. Creative activity is the main springboard for the basic skills. Play is messy, play is empowering, play is life-enhancing, play develops the child. There is a slow, potentially dangerous descent from a multi-dimensional, ideas-based approach to a two-dimensional name-and-labelling curriculum in the early years.

There seems to be a coincidence between a restricted curriculum and the ideology of a conservative government. Those in charge of developing the early years curriculum ignore insights into how children learn. Maybe a conservatism founded on personal hothousing in a private education system, which demands straight learning, has something to do with it. The teachers and schools forced against their better judgment into such an approach should be congratulated for weaving more imaginative, life-enhancing opportunities for their children.
Catherine Roome 
Staplehurst, Kent

 The 1995 comparative study by Betty Hart and Todd Risley of the language development of poor and richer children that Alex Beard referred to was repeating a pioneering study conducted by Professor Basil Bernstein of London University’s Institute of Education more than half a century ago. He characterised the language of working-class children as “restricted code” and that of middle-class children as “elaborated code”. A 10-year study of interactions between mothers and children from the two social backgrounds was subsequently led by Ruqaiya Hasan of Macquarie University.

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