Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reading and Writing in the Early Years and Research Fads

I keep saying this over and over again (in my head mostly) but I love my VLN (virtual learning network) and my RLN (real-life learning network)! Today I came across this tweet:

“@vango: Ditch the 4G and find your outdoor adventure #outdoors #camping”

I forwarded this to a few colleagues as we had just had a discussion about the role of technology in children's lives. One colleague sent a link to the article: A Thousand Rivers: What the Modern World has forgotten about Children and Learning. 

So many things about this article resonated with me. I recently enrolled in a PostGraduate Diploma of Literacy Education. I am intrigued about the huge pressure placed on children in their very early years of life to read and write. Frankly, I don't think they need to formally read and write til at least 6 years old but more often than not early childhood teachers feel the pressure to introduce reading and writing to children early. I am an advocate for play and for childhood and am on a journey to understand what the research says about language/literacy learning.

These paragraphs stood out to me:

In the modern world, unless you learn to read by age 4, you are no longer free to learn in this way. Now your learning process will be scientifically planned, controlled, monitored and measured by highly trained “experts” operating according to the best available “data.” If your learning style doesn’t fit this year’s theory, you will be humiliated, remediated, scrutinized, stigmatized, tested, and ultimately diagnosed and labelled as having a mild defect in your brain. 

How did you learn to use a computer? Did a friend help you? Did you read the manual? Did you just sit down and start playing around with it? Did you do a little bit of all of those things? Do you even remember? You just learned it, right?
So, now what? What can we do to ensure we are providing optimal learning environment for young children and what really is important to know at 4 years old?

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